The Juneau-Douglas High School tennis team finished local regional tournament action last weekend at the Alaska Club’s valley location and will send eight members to the state tournament beginning Friday in Anchorage.
“We will be playing against competition that is active in tennis year round,” JDHS coach Amy Skilbred said. “They have more courts to play on and more competition, but I feel we have a strong shot at winning.”
Twenty-four JDHS tennis team members participated in Boys and Girls Singles, Boys and Girls Doubles and Mixed Doubles over five days. All draws had matches in consolation rounds. Those finishing first in the consolation round were third overall. Since players are only allowed to participate in only one event at state, some of the region winners will play in a different state event.
Senior Pelle Arthur is the Girls Singles representative for JDHS at the state venue. Arthur defeated junior Emma Good 6-3, 6-1 for the region title. In the Girls Singles Consolation Final, senior Kathe Tallmadge defeated senior Sarah Landen 6-1, 2-6, 10-6 for third place.
“I am actually really excited for the competition,” Arthur said of state. “It is a lot more like it was in California, more people to play with.”
Arthur grew up in Northern California and moved to Juneau this year. She has played tennis for five years. Arthur is a strong hitter and brings a lot of energy to the game.
“I really want to ace people because I love serving,” Arthur said. “I hope I can stay really consistent and hit my shots well. I am ready to go up there and kick butt. I absolutely love being on the Juneau team, everyone is really nice and it is a lot of fun.”
Senior Evan Carnahan will represent the Crimson Bears in Boys Singles. Carnahan played for JDHS as a freshman and sophomore but spent last season at the Junior Tennis Champions Center academy in College Park Maryland. He was injured playing there and has been rehabilitating and overcoming illness throughout the season, but is still considered one of the state’s top players. Carnahan hasn’t played in state this season so will be unseeded at the championships. He did have a successful sophomore season at the state championships.
“I think it is going to be fun,” Carnahan said. “I think I will have an edge. The JTCC was very helpful to me. It has been a little shaky because I have only been playing for about two weeks, but I think I will do all right. I won’t be seeded, so it is going to be fun.”
In the region Boys Singles Final, senior captain Marc Heifetz defeated sophomore Jasper MacNaughton 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 for the title. Heifetz will play in mixed doubles however and MacNaugthon in boys doubles. In the Boys Singles Consolation Final, sophomore Ben Scudder defeated classmate Sam Bibb 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) for third place.
Seniors Jade Pilcher and Kathe Tallmadge will play Girls Doubles at state. In the region Girls Doubles Final, Pelle Arthur and Pilcher defeated Good and Tallmadge 6-1, 6-4. In the Consolation Final, sophomore Bailey Davenport and Sarah Landen defeated the freshman sensations Esme Cossett and Olivia Fletcher 8-0. Since Good will play mixed doubles and Arthur singles, Pilcher and Tallmadge are teaming up. Pilcher is a team captain and Tallmadge is known for tenacious court play.
“I need to work on strategy with Kathe,” Pilcher, a four-year Crimson Bears player, said. “We already know our weaknesses and strengths so we are going to make our weaknesses strengths. I really like just playing tennis, and all the people on the tennis team are really cool.”
Coach Skilbred stated that Pilcher has progressed a lot in the last year and the teaming with Tallmadge will work well.
MacNaughton and Bibb will be the Crimson Bears’ Boys Doubles team. The duo defeated favorite’s Heifetz and sophomore Henry Prussing 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. In the Boys Doubles Consolation Final, sophomore Macleod Morehouse and freshman Jon Scudder defeated sophomores Joe Greenough and B. Scudder 6-4, 1-6, 10-7.
MacNaughton and Bibb have played as partners since their freshman season and have a good working relationship on the court.
“I am expecting them to be do really well,” Skilbred said. “They could be one of the surprises at state. And I am really excited about the play of Emma (Good) and Marc (Heifetz).”
Good and Heifetz will represent JDHS in Mixed Doubles. In the region finals, Good and Heifetz defeated Arthur and MacNaughton 7-5, 6-3. In the Mixed Doubles Consolation Final, Landen and B. Scudder defeated Pilcher and Prussing 6-2, 6-3.
Good was runner-up in the state championships last season with Johnny Joyce, who graduated, and has teamed with Heifetz to give JDHS one of their best shots for a title. They are seeded third this year for the state venue.
“I am excited,” Heifetz said. “We will be successful if we talk and just play our game.”
In an earlier play this season the duo lost two close tiebreaker matches with the top mixed doubles team from Fairbanks’ West Valley and Anchorage’ West High.
“We have a lot more experience since then,” Heifetz said. “We both have a quality skill level.”
State tournament alternates are Scudder and Landen.
The JDHS state tennis team travels to Anchorage on Thursday to play in the ASAA State Championships. The first two rounds will be played on Friday and the semifinals and finals Saturday at The Alaska Clubs East and North locations.
There are 16 seeds in each of the different events.
“If everyone does well in the first matches it will benefit us as a team,” Skilbred said. “It is difficult if you are not seeded because you will face one of the top four teams pretty soon in the early round.”