The Juneau-Douglas High School tennis team is trending in the right direction at the state tournament.
Thanks to strong performances in mixed doubles and girls singles last year, the Crimson Bears placed second overall, trailing only four-time state champion South Anchorage in total points.
It was quite a jump from the team’s ninth-place showing in 2014 and fifth-place showing in 2015.
This year at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Tennis State Championships from Oct. 6-7 at the Alaska Club East in Anchorage, it’ll be up to a pair of seniors and standout junior to continue trending upward.
Seniors Kolby Hoover and Jacob Dale will JDHS’ boys double team. Hoover replaces Reuben MacNaughton as Dale’s partner in the boys doubles event at state.
Dale and MacNaughton placed fourth at the tournament last year. Dale says he’s got a much better feel on what to expect this year at the tournament.
“I didn’t really know what to expect going in my first year,” Dale said. “But this year I have a pretty good understanding of what the competition’s like and I think me and Kolby are prepared for it.”
A leg injury prevented Hoover from playing tennis his junior year. He’s trained himself back into tennis shape and says playing alongside Dale elevates his own play.
“I think Jacob’s super consistent all the time and I feed off that,” Hoover said.
The rest of the boys state team features junior Wolf Dostal, senior Sammy McKnight and River Reyes-Boyer.
The girls heavy hitter is junior Erica Hurtte. The junior has already made a name for herself at the state tournament during her freshman and sophomore years. As a freshman, Hurtte and teammate Sami Good won the girls doubles championship.
As a sophomore, she was the runner-up in the girls singles division. South Anchorage’s Christine Hemry — who won the girls singles title as a freshman — defeated Hurtte 6-3, 6-4.
Hurtte overtook West Anchorage’s Savannah Paull 6-1, 6-1 in the first round and South Anchorage’s Kaja Ferklova 6-1, 6-0 in the second round to reach the championship.
“I’m just going to go up there hopeful just going to see what happens, try my best, that’s about all I can do,” Hurtte said of this year’s tournament.
The rest of the girls state team includes Madisyn Carter, Olivia Moore and Adelie McMillan. Carter and Moore played in the state tournament last season as freshmen and will play as JDHS’ girls doubles team.
JDHS hosted its Region V tournament from Sept. 20-24 at the Alaska Club Valley. Dale and Hurtte won the singles titles.
Hoover and Dale defeated Cristian Batac and William Smoker in the boys doubles championship.
Hurtte and McMillan won against Carter and Moore in the girls doubles bracket.
Hurtte and Reyes-Boyer won the mixed doubles championship over McMillan and McKnight.
Region V Championship matches
Jacob Dale d. Kolby Hoover 6-1, 6-2
Erica Hurtte d. Adelie McMillan 6-0, 6-0
Jacob Dale/Kolby Hoover d. Cristian Batac/William Smoker 6-0, 6-1
Erica Hurtte/Adelie McMillan d. Madisyn Carter/Olivia Moore 6-1, 6-2
Erica Hurtte/River Reyes-Boyer d. Adelie McMillan/Sammy McKnight 6-1, 6-4
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com.