Sports

Badger ‘Big 3’ to play for Central Section individual championship

From left: Yosemite tennis players Cannon Eames, Steven Standefer, and Tyler Hellwig will all compete in the Central Section North Area tournament May 12-13 at Buchanan High School. Not pictured: Ian Pincus, who will also play in the tournament.
From left: Yosemite tennis players Cannon Eames, Steven Standefer, and Tyler Hellwig will all compete in the Central Section North Area tournament May 12-13 at Buchanan High School. Not pictured: Ian Pincus, who will also play in the tournament. Sierra Star

Yosemite High School’s tennis team will have four top players in the Central Section North Area tournament this year, including the “Big Three” who took first, second, and third place in the North Sequoia League.

Leading the charge for the Badgers will be senior Steven Standefer, who went 16-0 in individual play this season and won the NSL individual tournament April 26, making him the league’s best player for the second straight year.

Standefer said he was more proud of how his teammates Cannon Eames, Tyler Hellwig, and Ian Pincus performed as they placed second, third, and fifth in league, which also earned them entry into the North Area individual tournament May 12-13 at Buchanan High School.

“I’m happy we were all able to do so well,” Standefer said. “Yosemite dominated. I’m more happy about how we all did than anything else.”

“We’re really looking forward to it,” added Hellwig. “I think we’re all going to play really well and make a real impact.”

Standefer said alongside the individual tournament, the team also wants to win a division title that’s eluded them the last two years.

The Badgers, who three-peated as NSL team champions this season, lost to Selma High School in the semifinals of D-IV playoffs each year. Standefer said Yosemite’s looking forward to a potential rematch.

“I hope we do the same thing we did throughout our league,” Standefer said. “Just dominate and beat everybody. We’re gunning for Selma. Hopefully we can get them this year, because I feel like when we play them, everyone’s going to play with a little extra motivation.”

Head Coach Aaron Eames said he’s proud of his team’s performance this season, and that they’re going to make a strong run in playoffs.

“We feel pretty good all the way through because we’re a real deep team at all levels,” Eames said. “We’ve got some great players. We’re really looking forward to it.”

At the team level, Standefer will start at No. 1 in individual play, followed by Eames at No. 2, Pincus at No. 3, Hellwig at No. 4, Burke Stewart at No. 5, and David O’Brien at No. 6.

In doubles, Standefer and Eames will lead the field - the two went 15-1 on the season - followed by Pincus and Hellwig, and Harrison Thearle and Logan Cacy.

Yosemite was seeded No. 1 in D-IV playoffs, and will welcome Kingsburg at home for the quarterfinal round May 9. The semifinals are May 11, with finals play on May 17.

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