For the second year in a row Ashland's Chas Barnard and Jeff Laskos will be playing on Saturday in the Class 5A boys state tennis tournament.
For the second year in a row Ashland's Chas Barnard and Jeff Laskos will be playing on Saturday in the Class 5A boys state tennis tournament. Only this time, they won't be playing for fourth place. They'll be gunning for first.
Barnard and Laskos, unseeded afterthoughts who were not even granted a first-round bye, continued their remarkable run in the state doubles tournament Friday at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton, shocking the No. 2 seeded team in the semifinals to earn a championship date with their District 4 rivals from Churchill.
The Ashland duo will play Connor Horne and Matt Walker in a match that will be a partial rematch of last year's consolation final, when Barnard and Laskos, both seniors, lost to Walker and then-partner Daniel Nellis in the fourth-place match.
The surprise run to the finals was the highlight of what turned out to be a fantastic all-around day for Ashland tennis, which advanced two boys doubles teams, one girls doubles team and one boys singles player to consolation finals: Alex and Nate Harris will face teammates Josh Harris and Min-oh Suh in the boys consolation final; Quincy Briscoe will take on Thor Dodson of Corvallis in the boys singles consolation final; and Chloe Deckwar and Katie Patton will play Hayley Baker and Morgan Lushenko of Sherwood in the girls doubles consolation final.
Barnard and Laskos won two matches Thursday, then trounced Carter Patton and Nathan Ruter of West Albany to earn a semifinal date with the No. 2-seeded team from Cleveland, Jason Berney and Surresh Kumar. There, the Grizzlies' most experienced tandem bullied their way to another straight-set win, 6-3, 6-0.
Barnard and Laskos have yet to lose more than three games in a set at Beaverton. They'll try to continue that run in today's final, scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m.
Josh Harris and Suh have been equally dominating since losing in the second round Thursday. They won their first consolation match 8-1 and their second 8-3.
Alex Harris and Nate Harris were dealt a more difficult consolation draw once the No. 3-seeded team of David Scheafer and Anthony VanEaton lost in the second round, but the Ashland duo survived that match-up with a 9-8 triumph, pulling out the tie-breaker 7-4.
Briscoe added to Ashland's superb consolation showing with a pair of 8-6 victories.
The big second day improved the Grizzlies' chances at a top-three team finish. They're sitting in third place with nine points heading into the final day, 3 1/2; points behind first-place Cleveland, three points behind second-place Churchill and three points ahead of fourth-place Summit.
On the girls side, Deckwar and Patton rebounded nicely from Thursday's second-round setback, grinding out a pair of hard-fought victories to earn a spot in the fourth-place match. Their day began with an upset of the No. 2-seeded team, Braiden Johnston and Katie Brown of Crook County, 8-5, and continued with a 9-8 victory over Ali Witting and Leanne Burrows of South Albany.
Meanwhile, the team that eliminated the Deckwar-Patton duo from championship contention, Hannah Shepard and Jesse Drakiulich of Summit, have since won two more matches and will play the No. 4 seed, Ellie Weinstein and Alexa Daskalos of West Albany, in the 5A girls doubles final.
Ashland High senior Oliver Light qualified for two events — teaming with schoolmate Tyler Sell in one of them — for the National Junior Rowing Championships next month.
Light, a senior, and Sell, a junior, brought home medals from the Northwest Junior Regional Rowing Championships last weekend at Vancouver Lake in Washington.
They are members of the Ashland Rowing Club Junior Crew.
Light garnered a bronze medal in the 2,000-meter men's varsity single sculling race in a time of 7:48.10. Light and Sell took silver in the men's varsity double, covering the 2,000 meters in 7:07.47.
Nationals are in Cincinnati in June.
Ashland High freshmen Leah Wessler and McKenna O'Dougherty earned silver medals in the novice double.
Of the 18 boats entered from Ashland and St. Mary's high schools, 11 advanced to the finals.
Southern Oregon Fuegoto face Klamath Saturday
The Southern Oregon Fuego has added a match against Klamath United to its schedule this weekend.
The Fuego, a Premier Development League team, faces Klamath at 6 p.m. today at U.S. Cellular Community Park Field No. 10.