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High School Sports

They won’t get a team trophy, but West Eagles show who’s best at state tennis championships

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: October 11
  • Published October 11

A year after sharing the state high school tennis championship with South High, the West Eagles got greedy.

No team title was at stake this year, but the Eagles left no doubt about who the best team was.

They emerged victorious in four of the five divisions Saturday at the Alaska Club East, and in one of them -- girls singles -- they put two players in the finals.

The tournament provided sweet redemption for West’s two singles champions, Charlie Rush and Athena Clendaniel.

Rush was the No. 1 seed a year ago but was upset in the finals. He was a top seed again this year and he lived up to the billing by beating Lathrop’s Luke Millam 6-4, 6-4 in the finals.

Clendaniel was a runner-up in girls doubles for two straight seasons before ascending to the top as a solo act. She defeated teammate Sophia Green 6-3, 6-1, one day after losing to Green in the finals of the Cook Inlet Conference tournament.

West’s Jack Coulter was a champion for the second straight year, collecting a mixed doubles title to go with the boys doubles title he won last year. Coulter and Antonia Yu triumphed 6-3, 6-3 in a finals match against West Valley’s Klara Kondrake and Cole Neal.

Sharon Kim and Eva Lief won the girls doubles title for the Eagles by beating Dimond’s Laney Fagerstrom and Meghan Spils 6-1, 6-2.

The only West-free finals came in boys doubles, where the South team of Walker Brown and Thomas Pease cruised past Colony’s Grant Freeman and Kayden Payne 6-1, 6-1.

The tournament lasted one day instead of the usual two, no team trophies were awarded and the size of the field was sliced from 45 players to 25 -- all as a result of COVID-19 modifications.

It was the last of three straight busy days at the Alaska Club East, which hosted the Cook Inlet Conference championships Thursday and Friday before welcoming players to the state tournament on Saturday.

Those tournaments ran back-to-back because players on four CIC teams were in quarantine a week ago, prompting the Anchorage School District to cancel the Oct. 2-3 meet.

After appeals from numerous players, the tournament was resurrected and moved to Thursday and Friday, dates that coincided with the end of the various quarantines.

COVID-19 disrupted the rescheduled CIC tournament on Friday, when several players from Eagle River saw their quest for state tournament berths end. All sports at the school were shut down for the weekend to allow health officials to perform contact-tracing after multiple students either tested positive or were identified as close contacts on the heels of a private party on Oct. 3.

ASAA/First National Bank state tennis championships

Boys singles -- Charlie Rush (West) def. Luke Millam (Lathrop) 6-4, 6-4.

Girls singles -- Athena Clendaniel (West) def. Sophia Green (West) 6-3, 6-1

Boys doubles -- Walker Brown/Thomas Pease (South) def. Grant Freeman/Kayden Payne (Colony) 6-1, 6-1.

Girls doubles -- Sharon Kim/Eva Lief (West) def. Laney Fagerstrom/Meghan Spils (Dimond) 6-1, 6-2.

Mixed doubles -- Antonia Yu-Jack Coulter (West) def. Cole Neal/Klara Kondrake (West Valley) 6-3 6-3.

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