Bailey Bell
PHS freshman Bailey Bell has not been challenged yet this season with a 7-0 record and 14 straight sets won. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

On a windy Thursday afternoon on the Philomath High tennis courts, Stayton senior Rachel Ptacek’s first reaction following a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Warriors freshman Bailey Bell was to exclaim, “You’re really good.”

Based on results seen so far this season, it’s an accurate estimation of Bell’s abilities on the tennis court. Bell has a 7-0 record, winning all of those matches in straight sets. In fact, nobody’s even come close to challenging her with Bell winning 42 of 48 games. Further, no opponent has ever won more than one game in any single set against her.

Those are staggering numbers for a No. 1 singles newcomer on the high school circuit.

“It’s mostly been me competing against myself so far and try just to not make mistakes,” Bell said about her season. “I’d definitely love to have a more competitive match.”

Bell wants to test herself against other top players with a healthy streak of competitiveness. It’s one of the reasons she plays singles.

“All of the pressure’s on me and it’s less hard to get frustrated with other people,” Bell said. “It’s just been part of my life and it’s fun to play and hang out with friends and family.”

As for her game, Bell’s natural ability combined with hard work reveals few weaknesses.

“I work on my ground strokes and try to get my serves in,” Bell said. “My serve is my greatest weakness and my greatest weapon at the same time. I win a lot of points on that but I also have double faulted more times than I would like.”

Chloe Jurva and Atira Fairbanks
Chloe Jurva, left, and Atira Fairbanks defeated their Stayton opponents in straight sets Thursday.

Over at No. 1 doubles, seniors Chloe Jurva and Atira Fairbanks have been putting together a pretty good season of their own. Jurva and Fairbanks defeated Stayton’s Charlotte Ritchie and Kassidy Strand, 6-3, 6-0.

“I think we switch on and off every day and complement each other no matter what,” Jurva said about playing with Fairbanks. “Sometimes one of us is better at the front, sometimes one of us is better at the back. But it seems like we’re always good no matter what together.”

Fairbanks also said they have similar skills, although she said Jurva’s a little more aggressive at the net. Fairbanks said she’s been able to develop a pretty good serve — “nothing super good but I can do some things here and there.”

Neither Jurva nor Fairbanks played tennis prior to high school.

“Chloe’s sister played, that’s why I’m playing right now,” Fairbanks said. “We started freshman year and hadn’t picked up a tennis racket ever before that first day of practice.”

Both very competitive soccer players, the pair seems to appreciate the relaxing qualities of playing tennis.

“I really like the atmosphere here and Gary’s (Quandt) a great coach,” Jurva said. “The girls have always been supportive and it was nice trying out a new sport.”

By the end of their freshman year, the two had come together as a doubles team.

“We’ve known each other since preschool and we’ve always just been best friends, so we have a really good strategy working together,” Fairbanks said. “I think we work together really well, especially because we’ve been playing together for four years.”

Philomath won three of four singles matches and split the doubles matches to defeat Stayton as a team, 5-3. Besides Bell, the other singles winner for PHS came in the No. 4 spot with Daniella Carlisle’s 6-1, 6-3 victory over Karlee Tyler.

In doubles, Fairbanks and Jurva’s win was joined by the No. 4 pair of Nadia Durski and Lorelei Schell, who won 6-1, 7-5. The most thrilling match of the day occurred at No. 2 doubles with a marathon match involving K Bacho and Lily Schell. Their opponents, Daisy Trujillo and Rylee Dryden, pulled out a 6-7, 6-2, 10-8 win.

Philomath is scheduled to play at home again Friday with Cascade paying a visit. The team will then face Corbett at home on Tuesday in a match that had been postponed.

Sierra Johnson
Sierra Johnson (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Boys: Stayton 5, Philomath 3

In a meeting between two evenly-matched teams, Stayton won very close matches at No. 2 singles and No. 3 doubles to take a 5-3 victory over Philomath. It was the first team loss this season for the Warriors.

Dawson Beckstead was the lone PHS singles winner with a 6-3, 6-1 decision over his opponent in the No. 1 position. At No. 2 singles, Andrew Leonard lost by the closest of margins to Daniel Johnson, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6. Teddy Benbow was competitive at No. 3 singles but lost 6-3, 7-6.

The two teams split their doubles matches with Philomath getting victories at the No. 1 and No. 4 slots. The Warriors’ No. 1 pair of Dylan Bell and Nick Stucki won easily, 6-1, 6-0, while Jace Barrett and Ian Alba won at No. 4 doubles, 6-4, 6-3.

The No. 3 doubles team of Gardin Fairbanks and Noah Curtis battled in a marathon match against Garrett Buechner and Jason Ritchie but lost, 5-7, 7-4, 7-6. Philomath also dropped a tough one at No. 2 doubles with Judah Bacho and Mark Grimmer coming up short, 6-4, 7-6.

The boys will hit the road again Friday for a trip to Cascade.

Stayton 5, Philomath 3
Thursday, April 29, at Stayton HS
No. 1: Dawson Beckstead, PHS, def. Hayden Holm, 6-3, 6-1
No. 2: Daniel Johnson, SHS, def. Andrew Leonard, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6
No. 3: Ethan Wilson, SHS, def. Teddy Benbow, 6-3, 7-6
No. 4: Tim Christiansen, SHS, def. Tomas Harris, 6-2, 6-0
No. 1: Dylan Bell/Nick Stucki, PHS, def. Jake Anderson/Liam Rutherford, 6-1, 6-0
No. 2: Erick Gomez/Colby Fredricks, SHS, def. Judah Bacho/Erick Gomez, 6-4, 7-6
No. 3: Garrett Huechner/Jason Ritchie, SHS, def. Gradin Fairbanks/Noah Curtis, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6
No. 4: Jace Barrett/Ian Alba, PHS, def. Joseph Stufflebeam/Aiden Larimer, 6-4, 6-3
Philomath 5, Stayton 3
Thursday, April 29, at Philomath HS
No. 1: Bailey Bell, PHS, def. Rachel Ptacek, 6-1, 6-0
No. 2: Megan Campbell, SHS, def. Sierra Johnson, 6-1, 6-0
No. 3: Noel Lundeen, PHS, def. Sierra Baker, 6-0, 6-2
No. 4: Daniella Carlisle, PHS, def. Karlee Tyler, 6-1, 6-3
No. 1: Atira Fairbanks/Chloe Jurva, PHS, def. Charlotte Ritche/Kassidy Strand, 6-3, 6-0
No. 2: Daisy Trujillo/Rylee Dryden, SHS, def. K Bacho/Lily Schell, 6-7, 6-2, 10-8
No. 3: Youcelyn Diaz/Tori Nyquist, SHS, def. Megan Reese/Elise Reese, 6-1, 6-1
No. 4: Nadia Durski/Lorelei Schell, PHS, def. Brianna Fischer, 6-1, 7-5