PHS sophomore Bailey Bell focuses on a backhand during Friday's action at the OSU Tennis Complex. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News

Philomath High’s Bailey Bell has a lot more fun on the tennis court when she’s in a tough match with an outcome that’s uncertain. On most occasions during the regular season, the Warriors sophomore overwhelmed inferior opponents with the most common result being 6-0, 6-0.

“It’s really fun to experience playing girls who can challenge me,” Bell said after placing fourth at Friday and Saturday’s Class 4A/3A/2A/1A State Tennis Championships. “It’s going to help me grow as a tennis player.”

PHOTOS OF ALL PHILOMATH PLAYERS AT STATE TOURNAMENT

In the third-place match against Catlin Gabel’s Anna Semier, Bell came up short in a 6-4, 6-4 thriller.

“It was a terrific match and she lost 4-6, 4-6 but it was actually almost closer than that — you know, with a little break here or there,” PHS girls tennis coach Greg Thorson said. “But the girl was a very good player.”

Bell opened with victories of 6-0, 6-0 over Baker’s Sarah Plummer and 6-1, 6-0 over Marist Catholic’s Christina Nguyen to cruise into the semifinals. There, she met No. 1-seeded Lola Diaz Gonzalez of Catlin Gabel and finally got that competitive match.

“Every one of the girls that she lost to plays tennis all year long. It’s just hard to beat that when you’re a dual-sport athlete,” Thorson said, referring to Bell’s other love in athletics — soccer. “So, these girls were good and Bailey played very, very well.”

Bell lost to Diaz Gonzalez, 6-2, 6-1, to drop into the third-place match against Semier.

“These matches motivate me to keep working on the things I need to work on,” Bell said, “and getting more experience helping my teammates as captain … that’s something I want to carry into next year.”

Freshman Adele Beckstead won the consolation final on Saturday. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News

Sophomore Adele Beckstead had a strong finish to the tournament by winning the consolation final. She opened Friday with a 6-2, 6-0 loss to Oregon Episcopal’s Nicole Anderson and later took a consolation quarterfinals victory over Sutherlin’s Addison Roberts, 8-1 — pro-set scoring is used in the first two rounds of the consolation bracket.

The next day in the consolation semifinals, Beckstead beat Stayton’s Laina Atiyeh, 8-0, to advance to the finale. There, she defeated Weston-McEwen’s Jacqlyn Albert, 6-2, 6-0.

“She took down everybody,” Thorson said about the consolation matches. “She was definitely one of the better players (in the tournament).”

There was separation at the top, however, with Klamath Union’s Patricia Daugherty on a level of her own as evidenced in the championship match with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Diaz Gonzalez, 6-1, 6-2.

“The top player was by far better than anybody,” Thorson said. “She was amazing.”

Phoebe Dodson, left, and K Bacho react to winning a point during their first-round match on Friday morning. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News

In doubles, senior K Bacho and junior Phobe Dodson nearly pulled off a first-round win and nabbed a victory in the consolation bracket before bowing out.

“I thought they played to their ability, they played well,” Thorson said. “You remember, Phoebe’s never played tennis before and K has but not as a No. 1, so they did well to get to state and they won a match.”

Bacho and Dodson appeared to be having a great time on the court.

“They won over the hearts of their opponents — people loved playing them and there were lots of compliments from people who liked watching them play,” Thorson said. “So that was a heartening thing as well.”

In that first-round match Friday morning against Vale’s Kailey McGourty and Jessi Arriola, the Philomath pair pushed hard in a 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 loss. The victory in the consolation quarterfinals came over Baker’s Maya Smith and Olivia Jacoby, 8-5, and the loss in the semis was to Oregon Episcopal’s Ava Do and Kaleia Tashima, 8-4.

Marin Roseman and Sophia Dube of Oregon Episcopal won the championship match over Hannah Poisson and Pratheeka Weerakoon of St. Mary’s (Medford), 6-3, 6-2.

Philomath from a team perspective finished fifth with 6.5 points behind champion Catlin Gabel (15), Oregon Episcopal (13), Klamath Union (8) and Cascade (7).

“We had four girls at state and they all played to their full maximum potential,” Thorson said.

PHS senior Noah Aynes goes low for a shot in his doubles match. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News

Boys

In the boys’ portion of the tournament, senior Noah Aynes and junior Teddy Benbow reached the consolation finals and battled to the end in a 7-5, 7-5 loss to Marist Catholic’s Henry Gonyea and Alexander Charbonneau.

PHS junior Teddy Benbow returns a baseline shot in a first-round doubles match. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News

“I think they played well in the first match and then won their first consolation and then this morning (Saturday), they beat out a team that they had lost to during the regular season in Cascade, so they were pretty happy about that,” PHS boys coach Gary Quandt said. “I was pleased with the way they played all the way through.”

In that opening match on Friday, Aynes and Benbow had their moments against fourth-seeded Ethan Tiu and Richard Li of Oregon Episcopal but lost by a 6-3, 6-3 count. The first consolation win came over Jackson Lopiano and Calvin Chmelir of St. Mary’s (Medford), 8-5, before beating Cascade rivals Austin Thatcher and Isaac Schnepp, 8-5.

In singles, junior Dawson Beckstead, who entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed, struggled in his first-round match against Marist Catholic’s Kai Villano, losing 6-3, 6-0.

“He was playing not to lose instead of playing to win,” Quandt said. “He was playing super conservative and made some errors.”

Beckstead shook off the first match performance and defeated Dallin Berg of Ontario, 8-2, in the consolation bracket. Said Quandt, “He played his first consolation match fairly well.”

Junior Dawson Beckstead watches a shot during his first-round match at state. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News

In the next round, Marist Catholic’s Andrew Forsyth eliminated Beckstead, 8-6.

Senior Dylan Bell got off to an effective start in his first-round match against Nyssa’s Dawson Richards by taking the first set and then he nearly nailed down the victory in the second. But then things took a turn.

“He started having cramps … I had to take three injury timeouts and stretch him out a little bit,” Quandt said. “But he ended up losing and I wasn’t even sure if he was going to play the first consolation.”

Richards got the first-round win, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Warriors senior Dylan Bell hits a forehand during a first-round match on Friday morning at OSU. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News

Bell determined that he could give it a go in a consolation match but at less than 100%, he ended up losing to Marist Catholic’s Forsyth, 8-3.

In the team scoring, Philomath’s 1.5 points was good for 10th place. Catlin Gabel won with 20 points. Cascade finished fourth with 8.5.

Zach Moore of Cascade won the singles title in dominating fashion over Catlin Gabel’s Tai Leong, 6-2, 6-0. In doubles, Catlin Gabel’s Peter Ye and Will Silver outlasted Marist Catholic’s Peyton Tyner and Jack Kiefer, 7-6, 5-7, 6-3.


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.