Truckee boys capture Northern League tennis championship
Before the fall sports season began, the captains of the Truckee boys’ tennis team sat down for a meeting with Head Coach Lucy Schram.
Seniors Zach Hass and Zach Larson already possessed individual state titles as reigning singles and doubles champions, respectively, but the two players stated they were hungry for more in their final year, and had set their sights on bringing the boys’ program its first-ever team state championship.
“These captains, Haas and Larson, that has been their goal from day one this year, and that is that this team is deep and strong and ready to challenge for state,” said Schram.
“Those guys have their state titles. They had an individual goal, and for them to take it from there and say, ‘We have our titles and we want everybody to have a title.’ It’s really driven by them.”
The Wolverines took another step toward a state championship on Monday, Oct. 8, dominating South Tahoe in the Class 3A Northern League championship game at the Tahoe Donner Tennis Center for Truckee’s first regional title since 2015. The Wolverines wrapped up the league championship after two rounds of play, having built a 10-2 lead over the Vikings.
“This team has worked through a lot of adversity this season,” said Schram. “For the last two seasons, they’ve had a hard pill to swallow at the end, so it’s great to have an opportunity to celebrate.”
The Vikings had defeated the Wolverines, 10-8, in the finals of the regional tournament in each of the past two season, including an upset last year after Truckee had gone undefeated through regular season play. This year, Truckee against went 10-0 during the regular season, stretching the program’s winning streak outside of the postseason to 24 wins, which dates back to 2016.
“I’m glad we finally got this regional final,” said Larson. “It’s been three years of expecting it every year, and then being quite annoyed when we didn’t.”
Larson, who won a doubles state championship with senior Noah Warren, teamed up with senior Sawyer Laine to win three matches against South Tahoe on Monday.
“This year, all three of us (Haas, Warren, and Larson) have taken more of a leadership position on the team,” said Larson on this year’s team.
“We really want to focus on the team, but we also want to defend our title.”
Due to Warren being out with an injury (shoulder), Laine filled in with Larson during the tournament, and has excelled in doubles play this year, going 17-2 during the regular season, and 5-0 in the post season, thus far.
“(Larson) has helped me so much,” said Laine on his improved play. “We hit for two hours yesterday on the ball machine, just getting all of the strokes down.”
Warren and Larson are expected to play together later in the week in the Northern League doubles tournament. The defending champions are the No. 1 seed and open play against North Tahoe’s No. 16 seeded squad, junior Julian Cayolle and sophomore John Lyons.
Truckee will also have the No. 3 seed, seniors Turner Drummond and Elliot Rost, and the No. 8 seed, freshman Gabe Smith and sophomore Kai Watters. The Lakers have the No. 12 seed, junior Tristan Cayolle and junior Carson Lamberth
The tournament begins at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, at the Tahoe Donner Tennis Center.
Top-seeded singles players
In singles play, two-time state champion and three-time Northern League champion, Haas, breezed through two South Tahoe opponents during Monday’s finals.
“It feels good for my senior year to go out with a bang. (We) definitely played strong to win before the match was even over,” said Haas, who hasn’t lost a high school match since the state championship singles final his freshman year.
“This year I took more of a step away from the individual aspect and really wanted to be a captain and push to win a team state championship. I’m still individually very focused on repeating what I’ve done the past few years.”
If Haas is able to collect a third consecutive state title in singles, he’ll become just the fourth player in the history of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, and first athlete since 1994, to do so. No boy athlete has won four state championships in singles.
“I’m really looking forward to getting through my matches, and I’m hoping my No. 2, Luke Sorter, comes through on the other side of the draw,” said Haas. “A Truckee filled final, I think that would be really cool.”
Sorter, who is 25-1 thus far in singles play, won all three of his matches on Monday, including coming back from down 3-0 to win 6-3 against the No. 5 player in the Northern League, South Tahoe junior Juan Vazquez.
“Just keeping my head in the game,” said Sorter on the key to the match. “I was a little iffy in the beginning, but I pulled through.”
Sorter will enter this Friday’s regional singles tournament as the No. 2 seed. Junior Lucas Kraatz also qualified for the tournament as the No. 8 seed. North Tahoe will have senior Murphy Scott, who will have the tall order of facing Haas in the opening round. The Lakers also have No. 12 seed, senior Dillon Hudson.
The Class 3A Northern League singles tournament will also be played at the Tahoe Donner Tennis Center, and is scheduled to get underway at 10:30 a.m. on Friday.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at email@example.com.