The first day of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Tennis State Championships was not all too kind to Juneau-Douglas High School.
Despite going 1-4 in the first round on Friday at the Alaska Club East in Anchorage, five Crimson Bears were playing tennis into Saturday afternoon as the tournament neared its conclusion.
Senior Erica Hurtte, a former doubles state champion, met South Anchorage’s Christine Hemry in the girls singles final for the third consecutive year, losing 6-1, 6-1. Hurtte’s loss came shortly after the mixed doubles team (Sahil Bathija and Jaymie Collman) and girls doubles team (Olivia Moore and Adelie McMillan) won their respective fourth-place matches.
Bathija and Collman ousted Wasilla’s Calvin Stoll and Rosabella Cerbrian 6-3, 6-4, and Moore and McMillan prevailed over Kodiak’s Luanne Velasco and Bella Goble 6-4, 6-4.
McMillan and Moore lost 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 to West Anchorage’s Aieleen Kim and Athena Clendaniel in the opening round. Kim and Clendaniel won the tiebreaker 10-4.
“The whole entire match was very close,” Moore said. “But the tiebreaker, they were very aggressive towards us and we were getting a little psyched out and both us double-faulted.”
Bathija and Collman were also quickly dropped to the loser’s bracket. In their first round match against South Anchorage’s Payton and Walker Brown, the duo gave up a 5-2 lead in the first set, eventually falling 7-5, 7-5. They then won two matches in a row to advance to the fourth-place game.
“We knew we could’ve done better than that first one,” Bathija said. “Something got in our heads halfway through that game and we lost it then in the first match. We knew could do better and we tried to prove that.”
Collman, a freshman, said the tournament was a terrific experience.
“Everyone here’s very nice, there’s a lot of good sportsmanship,” she said. “I’m definitely going to want to do it again.”
Bathija’s fellow seniors had a tougher go. Wolf Dostal lost to East Anchorage’s David Columbus 6-1, 6-0 and Lathrop’s Riley Knott 6-1, 6-1. River Reyes-Boyer and William Smoker were also downed in two straight matches.
Hurtte leaves the program as one its most dominant players. The senior advanced to the state finals every year, winning the school’s first-ever girls doubles title as a freshman before playing three years against Hemry for the singles championship.
“The guy who gave her tennis lessons all throughout her childhood would come once and a while to Juneau and help me with my groundstroke,” Hurtte said. “So I always knew of her. I always knew there was another little girl that played tennis.”
Hurtte said tennis was a big part of her upbringing and it felt strange to be starting a new chapter.
“It was my last competitive match and tournament, it was just kind of odd,” she said. “It was a happy moment.”
2018 Tennis State Championship Matches
Boys Singles — David Columbus (East) def. Robbie Sedwick (West) 1-6, 6-4, 6-0.
Girls Singles — Christine Hemry (South) def. Erica Hurtte (JDHS) 6-1, 6-1.
Boys Doubles — Teddy Bahr/Charlie Rush (West) def. Steve Kilkenny/Gage Webster (South) 6-1, 6-2.
Girls Doubles — Kate/Layna Debenham (Dimond) def. Aieleen Kim/Athena Clendaniel (West) 6-1, 6-3.
Mixed Doubles — Kristina Yu/Andre Lief (West) def. Payton/Walker Brown (South) 6-3, 6-1.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.