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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation July 22, 2017

5/23/2017 1:56:00 PM
Gurney consolation winner at tennis tournament
Jonny Gurney in action as he battled through at the state tennis by Jerry Baldock
+ click to enlarge
Jonny Gurney in action as he battled through at the state tennis tournament.

photo by Jerry Baldock

Three players from the Sisters High School varsity boys tennis team played in the state tournament at Oregon State University held on Friday and Saturday, May 19-20. A total of 18 teams representing four districts were in attendance.

Jonny Gurney, at No. 1 singles, lost in his first round on Friday, but battled back to become the consolation winner.

Gurney lost 1-6, 2-6, to Coleman Sherry (No. 3 seed) of Catlin Gable in the first round on Friday, and moved into the consolation bracket. Sherry ended up going all the way to finals and finished second.

"Jonny played amazingly well against the second-strongest player in the tournament," said Coach Bim Gander.

Later in the day, Gurney beat Zach Schwinn of Baker in the consolation quarterfinals.

"This was probably Jonny's strongest match he played in consolation," said Gander. "All of his good hitting from the previous round rolled over and helped him handle Schwinn."

On Saturday, in the semifinals, Gurney posted another victory. Jonny defeated Jake McCafferty of Hidden Valley.

Gander stated, "Frankly, he didn't play quite as well as in the first consolation match, but it was nice to see that even when he's not at his best he can still win a match at the state tournament."

In the finals, Gurney matched up against district rival, Ramon Lema of Molalla. Lema is a foreign exchange student from Madrid, Spain, who finished No. 2 at district, ahead of Gurney, who finished

at No. 3.

Jonny showed some very gritty play and defeated the accomplished Lema 6-4, 7-5, to win in consolation.

"Ramon's game is very scrappy, and he can run every ball down," said Gander. "Jonny was able to beat him with some well-timed aggression by hitting deep shots to the corners and following up with overheads and vollies at the net."

Sisters No. 1 doubles' team of Jacob Gurney and Jed Kizziar also competed at the tourney. The duo lost 2-6. 0-6, to Ebel of La Grande in their first round of the tourney on Friday. The combo got off to a good start and held a lead, but LaGrande found their rhythm and steam-rolled over Gurney and Kizziar. Ebel went on to place fourth in the tournament.

Gurney and Kizziar went into the consolation bracket and lost 2-9 in the first round to Newton and Randall of St. Marys.

"This match was very similar to the first one," said Gander. "But, it's an amazing accomplishment for Jacob and Jed to make it to the state tournament considering they've only had two years of tennis experience. This is the first time in five years I've ever had a sophomore qualify for state, and that's Jed."

Gander was very pleased with his players and reflected on their improvement throughout the season.

"It's amazing the progress these kids made over the course of the season," said Gander. "We were last of eight teams at the White Buffalo Invitational the first week of April, and six weeks later finished second against largely the same competition."

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