The Yosemite High School boys tennis team are back-to-back North Sequoia League champions after a victory over Washington Union at home April 21.
Behind the strong individual play of Steve Standefer, and his partner Burke Stewart in doubles (13-1), the Badgers (9-5, 9-1 NSL) move on to the May 5 Central Section Playoffs. They are expected to receive a playoff seed next week.
Head Coach Aaron Eames said the team, with no senior players, has shown remarkable improvement since beginning the season.
“We lost six seniors off of last year’s team and lost every one of our pre-season matches,” Eames said. “Coach Stan Lawrence did a great job with our young guys. The improvement these players have shown has been amazing.”
Standefer, a sophomore, will make his first run as top seed through the NSL’s individual tournament as he finished with a 13-1 record.
“Tennis is life, life is tennis,” Standefer laughed. “It feels great. I’m happy to be where I am and I’m happy to be here with my team.”
The NSL individual championship tournament will be held April 28 at Kerman High School.
The league championship, won by YHS April 21, wouldn’t have happened without rookie freshmen Harry Thearle and Tyler Helwig, who saved the Badgers from losing a meet to Kerman April 14. The meet was tied up to that doubles match, which Thearle and Hedwig won 8-4 to give Yosemite the team win.
If the Badgers had lost that game, they would have tied Chowchilla for first place in the NSL, instead of finishing as outright champions.
Against Washington Union, Standefer won both his sets 6-0.
Stewart also performed well, finishing both his sets 6-1. Ian Rincus, Cannon Eames, and David O’Brien all won their matches, while Alex Williams fell in both his sets 2-6.
The Badgers swept doubles play, with Standefer and Stewart over their Union opponents 8-5, Williams and Eames 8-2, and Thearle and Helwig 8-5.