Truckee stars shine at state tennis tourney
A year after becoming Truckee High School’s first singles tennis state champion, junior Zach Haas has repeated the feat, in a come-from-behind victory on Saturday, Oct. 21 over Western’s Rua Elmore.
Haas entered the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Class 3A State Tennis Championship in Las Vegas undefeated on the season, and represented the Northern Region’s No. 1 seed.
He’d breeze through his first match against Boulder City’s Breton Erlanger, winning 6-0, 6-1. Hass then took on Connor Mikkelson, of Boulder City, in the semifinals and picked up a 7-5, 6-3 win in one of his closest matches of the season.
Haas then entered the finals against Elmore, who he topped in last year’s championship match 7-5, 6-0, but in this year’s finals, the Western player took the early advantage, winning the opening set 6-3. The loss was also the first set all season Haas has dropped.
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Near the midway point of a close second set, Haas and Head Coach Lucy Schram met up, and though down a set and in a fight to keep his championship hopes alive, Schram said Haas guaranteed he’d win the match and state title.
He’d be pushed to the brink of defeat during the that set, but managed to come out on top after a tiebreaker for a 7-6 win to even the match at one set apiece.
“He really had to change his style of play to beat that kid,” Schram said. “His maturity showed going into that third set. It’s the first time he’s truly been challenged during the entire season.”
From there, the Truckee champion took over, winning 6-2 in the third set to win the match and defend his state championship.
Haas has now won two state championships and three regional titles during his time at Truckee.
Incline senior Lucas Tong and South Tahoe’s Mickey Sullivan also played in the tournament, but both were knocked out of the first round.
Truckee juniors Zach Larson and Noah Warren capped an undefeated season off with a three-game run through the Class 3A state championship doubles tournament to capture their first doubles state championship. The doubles championship is possibly the first ever for Truckee, according to Schram, with it being unclear whether a Truckee doubles team had won a state title going back several decades ago.
The atmosphere at the tournament would be much different that what Warren and Larson had been accustomed to with the opening matches held under the lights, along with large crowds of spectators cheering on the players.
“It was a lot of intensity from the two of them,” Schram said. “They knew what was on the line. The atmosphere was different — constant yelling and coaching — they had to find their way to focus.”
Larson and Warren won their opening matchup against Jose Ruiz and Alfredo Murillo, of Desert Pines, 6-3, 6-2, and then rebounded from a loss in the second set of the semifinals to take a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 win over The Meadows duo Ryan Chang and Brian Capp. The two players from The Meadows defeated Truckee’s other doubles qualifiers junior Turner Drummond and sophomore Patrick Hogan in the first round, 6-4, 6-0.
Larson and Warren would then line up against The Meadows’ Justin Finseth and Ben Goodman in the championship match, where the Truckee players won a pair of 6-4 sets to claim the state title.
Truckee senior Rebecca Ziegler, Incline senior Viki Valente, and Incline sophomore Katherine Tong all made appearances in the girls’ singles tournament, but only Valente was successful in making it out of the first round. Ziegler fell 6-0, 6-0, and Tong lost 6-0, 6-3.
Valente would be beaten 6-0, 6-0 by eventual runner-up Lindsay Hofflander, of The Meadows in the semifinals. Valente then played in the third-place match against Audrey Grigore, of The Meadows, but fell 6-4, 6-7, 6-1.
Olivia Mikkelson, of Boulder City, was the girls’ singles champion.
Truckee sophomores Courtney Engberg and Rachel Heath were the only local players in the girls’ doubles tournament, but the two dropped their opening matchup 6-4, 6-3 to eventual runners-up Claire Strimling and Isabella Monroe of The Meadows.
The Meadows No. 1 seed, Peyton Barsel and Grace Nemec won the girls’ doubles state championship, defeating Strimling and Monroe 6-3, 6-1.
The team tournament was also held in Las Vegas, and began on Thursday, Oct. 19. Truckee entered the four-team tournament as the No. 2 seed out of the Northern League, and went up against No. 1 seed, Boulder City. The Wolverines would fall 12-6 to the eventual champion Eagles to end their season. Haas scored three points. Warren and Larson added two more, and Hogan and Drummond added another.
The Truckee girls came into the tournament as the Northern League champions, but fell 14-4 to Boulder City in the first round. The Meadows won the girls’ title with a 15-3 win over Boulder City in the finals.
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