PHS senior Dawson Beckstead rolled over his opponent, 6-0, 6-0, during Wednesday's season-opening dual. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Philomath High senior Dawson Beckstead plans to take a deep breath and enjoy his final season with the boys tennis program. The team’s No. 1 singles player and the No. 4 seed at state last spring, Beckstead struggled at the 4A/3A/2A/1A tournament with a first-round loss.

Beckstead will be the first to admit that he allowed the pressure to get to him. As a result, he’s approaching this season with a more aggressive mindset.

“I’ve been training a lot in the offseason trying to iron out flaws in my form, try to get a more aggressive mentality on the court,” Beckstead said following a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Lebanon’s Caleb Black in a home dual Wednesday afternoon. “I’m really hoping to have a very good season, compete in districts and see where it goes from there.”

Rescheduled from a rainout on Monday, the Warriors were hardly challenged in the dual against the 5A school with an 8-0 final. Philomath won all seven of its on-court matches in straight sets and in the eighth, took the victory by forfeit.

Joining Beckstead as singles winners were junior Andrew Leonard (6-0, 6-0), freshman Jackson Rice (6-0, 6-0) and junior Owen Thomas (6-0, 6-2). Philomath’s doubles teams were also all winners with senior Teddy Benbow and junior Sawyer Ainsworth (6-2, 6-1), junior Gradin Fairbanks and freshman Lane Schell (6-2, 6-3) and sophomore Jackson Holroyd and junior Osvaldo Garcia-Bazan (6-3, 6-3).

Beckstead at last season’s state tournament bounced back from the first-round upset to win a consolation match but exited on a loss in the consolation semifinals.

The experience impacted Beckstead and left him with a better understanding of what he needs to do for success at state.

“It was difficult at state last year but going into this season, I think I know what I need to do better — be a little more calmer, more composed and go about my game and not worry about what’s happening on the other side of the court,” Beckstead said.

The district tournament appears as though it might be more of a challenge with the addition of Marist Catholic. Cascade with last season’s singles champion, Zach Moore, remains in the district.

“Cascade has a very strong player that won districts and state last year and Marist has a lot of strong players and have a lot of depth on their team,” Beckstead said. “I’m looking at a lot of very good competition this year in districts and at state. I’m looking forward to it.”

Philomath is scheduled to compete again on Friday with a trip to Class 5A Silverton.

Brad Fuqua

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.

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