Philomath’s Beckstead enjoying his first varsity season at No. 1 singles

Philomath High’s No. 1 singles player, Dawson Beckstead, prefers to frustrate his opponents on the tennis court with a wicked topspin.

“(Rafael) Nadal is my favorite player — he hits a lot of topspin and I try to do the same thing,” Beckstead said, then added with a laugh, “But it’s not the same.”

Sure, Beckstead is only a sophomore and his game will surely improve with varsity experience and fine-tuning his skills. But he’s already making a name for himself in district circles as a player to keep an eye on.

“My goal is really just to get into districts, compete as hard as I can, make it as far as I can and just learn,” said Beckstead, whose brother Colton and sister Gabi have both competed at state.

Beckstead could be in contention to qualify himself. It appears that Class 4A athletic directors have made progress in putting together a state tournament with Marist Catholic hosting.

Beckstead came into Thursday’s match against Sisters with a 4-0 record, which included winning eight of nine sets. However, he would go up against an exceptional opponent in Sisters senior Nate Weber, an all-around athlete who came in at 3-1.

Beckstead remembers watching Weber play at past district meets and commented, “He’s gotten a lot better since then. He hits the ball pretty hard.”

Weber ended up posting a 7-5, 6-2 win.

Noah Curtis, Jace Barrett
Noah Curtis, left, and Jace Barrett celebrate a point during their No. 3 doubles pro set match against Sisters. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Beckstead nearly pulled off a comeback in the opening set. Trailing 3-0 at one point, he battled back and tied the set at 5-5. But Weber was able to pull it out, capitalizing on several points with a strong serve.

In the second set, Beckstead again fell into a hole early at 2-0 but came back to tie it at 2-2. Weber took over from there, however, and won the next four games for the match.

Asked to describe his style on the court, Beckstead said, “I try to go for consistency a lot, lots of topspins … I try to make it harder for the other player; I’m not out there trying to hit power most of the time.”

Beckstead said he usually plays soccer but opted to not play this year in favor of focusing on tennis. In a regular academic year with soccer played in the fall, he expects to return to the pitch. In the meantime, he loves getting out on a tennis court. He prefers to play singles.

“I like how it’s very individual, you’re just out there trying to hit your strokes, trying to figure it out by yourself,” Beckstead said. “I like how there’s not a shot clock … you can be out there however long you can make it last and that appeals a lot to me.”

Despite Weber’s win at No. 1 singles, Philomath defeated the Outlaws as a team, 7-1. Sisters brought only a handful of players to compete and in fact, Beckstead and Weber represented the only regulation match.

Philomath won by default at the other three singles spots and at the top two doubles spots. There were No. 3 and No. 4 doubles matches that played a pro set. At No. 3, Jace Barrett and Noah Curtis won their match, 8-5. And at No. 4, Teddy Benbow and Ian Alba defeated their opponents, 8-0.

The schedule shows Philomath getting back into action on Tuesday at home against Woodburn in what would already be the final appearance on the PHS courts of this shortened season.

“The season’s been great so far,” Beckstead said. “We get to go out on these new courts and it’s nice to just be able to compete.”

Teddy Benbow
Teddy Benbow hits the ball in a doubles match against Sisters on Thursday. (Photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

Girls

The PHS girls also competed on Thursday with a trip to Sisters. The Warriors came away with a 5-3 victory.

No. 1 singles player Bailey Bell remained unbeaten with a 6-1, 6-0 victory. Daniella Carlisle was also a winner at No. 3 singles, 6-4, 2-6, 6-0. Sierra Johnson lost at No. 2 singles and Sisters won by default in the No. 4 spot.

In doubles, Atira Fairbanks and Chloe Jurva came from behind to post a 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 win. At No. 2, K Bacho and Noel Lundeen were 6-0, 6-2 winners. Nadia Durski and Lorelei Schell won at No. 4 doubles, 6-2, 6-1. Sisters won at No. 3 over Elise Reese and Megan Reese but it was close at 7-6, 6-4.

Philomath was scheduled to play at home Friday against Corbett but the match has been postponed to May 4. The Warriors will next compete on Tuesday at Woodburn.


BOYS
Philomath 7, Sisters 1
Thursday, April 22, at Philomath HS
SINGLES
No. 1: Nate Weber, SHS, def. Dawson Beckstead, 7-5, 6-2
No. 2: Andrew Leonard, PHS, won by default
No. 3: Teddy Benbow, PHS, won by default
No. 4: Tomas Harris, PHS, won by default
DOUBLES
No. 1: Dylan Bell/Nick Stucki, PHS, won by default
No. 2: Judah Bacho/Mark Grimmer, PHS, won by default
No. 3: Jace Barrett/Noah Curtis, PHS, def. Jaxon Barry/Dexter Payne, 8-5
No. 4: Teddy Benbow/Ian Alba, PHS, def. KJ Sweet/Matthew Riehle, 8-0

GIRLS
Philomath 5, Sisters 3
Thursday, April 22, at Sisters HS
SINGLES
No. 1: Bailey Bell, PHS, def. Juhree Kizziar, 6-1, 6-0
No. 2: Ellie Mayes, SHS, def. Sierra Johnson, 6-3, 6-0
No. 3: Danielle Carlisle, PHS, def. Katie Ryan, 6-4, 2-6, 6-0
No. 4: Brooke Harper, SHS, won by default
DOUBLES
No. 1: Atira Fairbanks/Chloe Jurva, PHS, def. Ellie Rush/Sophia Silva, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
No. 2: K Bacho/Noel Lundeen, PHS, def. Elana Mansfield/Charlotte Seymour, 6-0, 6-2
No. 3: Jenna Kizziar/Leah O’Hern, SHS, def. Elise Reese/Megan Reese, 7-6, 6-4
No. 4: Nadia Durski/Lorelei Schell, PHS, def. Lindsay Scott/Adriana Luna, 6-2, 6-1

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