Juneau wins its first-ever tourney

Crimson Bears top West Valley for championship

Posted: Sunday, August 27, 2006

History was made Saturday at the Alyeska Invitational Tennis Tournament in Fairbanks.

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Juneau-Douglas High School won the first tournament in the tennis team's four-year existence with a 5-1 victory over West Valley.

"It feels really great," the Crimson Bears' Lyndsey Kelly said. "It's nice to actually win something as a team."

The tournament was a team format in which two singles, two doubles and two mixed doubles matches took place. Each match was a race to eight games.

In the final, Bryan Crowder upended Robert Storzberg 8-1 to get the Crimson Bears started. Crowder is one of the few players who have been on the squad since its inception.

"We've gone through a lot together and played better as a team than when we started," Crowder said. "This year, everything is just meshing."

In boys doubles, Crowder teamed up with Kaelen Knutson-Lombardo to defeat the Wolfpack's Sam Schmoker and Forest Owen 8-5.

In girls singles, Juneau's Lyndsey Kelly exacted a measure of revenge against West Valley's Tatyana Luttenschalger with an 8-6 win.

Luttenschalger defeated Kelly in the finals of last year's Alyeska Invitational.

"When you play someone before, you get a chance to know the weaknesses and strengths of the players," Kelly said.

Kelly teamed up with Knutson-Lombardo to defeat Schmoker and Rianna Jehmeier in mixed doubles, 8-3.

Knutson-Lombardo believes the victory will help the tennis team gain more notoriety as it continues to grow.

"I think it will give us a lot more recognition, especially in the school," Knutson-Lombardo said.

In girls doubles, Laurel Messerschmidt and Dream Suchitbahanabitya earned an 8-5 win over Bekah Telfer and Sarah Craft.

The Crimson Bears' lone loss in the final came in mixed doubles as West Valley's Forest Owen and Aurora Ross upended Suchitbahanabitya and Zak Kirkpatrick.

Despite the loss, Juneau-Douglas captured its first ever tournament.

"I had white knuckles," said co-captain Molly Trostel. "It was a lot of fun.

"We're just kind of in shock. It was like, 'Did we win? Oh my gosh, we did win.' We're elated. We're just so happy."

The final capped off an exhausting weekend of tennis for JDHS.

On Saturday, Juneau's varsity won two-of-three matches while its junior varsity split.

The Crimson Bears defeated Hutchison 5-1 and North Pole 3-3 on a tiebreaker, most games won. Lathrop defeated JDHS 4-2.

In junior varsity action, JDHS upended West Valley 4-2 but lost to Lathrop 4-2.

On Friday, Juneau-Douglas upended Monroe Catholic, 5-1, and Eielson by a 4-2 score. The team also lost to West Valley 4-2.

Earlier on Friday, JDHS opened the season with a 7-0 victory over Dimond.

Kelly and Crowder each won singles matches while the mixed doubles tandem of Suchitbahanabitya and Knutson-Lombardo won 8-1.

Merijke Coenraad and Messerschmidt won in girls doubles, Steffan Wilcox and Kirkpatrick won in boys doubles, Brian Vandoor and Jon Twomley won their doubles match while Trostel joined forces with Nathan Graves for a mixed doubles victory.

• Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at sports@juneauempire.com

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