The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline
Sports editor 

Girls tennis claims district title while four doubles groups advance to districts


John Longfellow

Halie Allen is shown in action during an April 23 doubles match against La Salle. Allen and Kristin Bighorn finished fifth at the sub district tournament and will compete this weekend at districts.

Three Goldendale tennis doubles groups finished in the top five at the South Central Athletic Conference Sub District Tournament to clinch a spot in this weekend's district match, while one more doubles team will serve as an alternate.

Senior Talia Johnson and Kelli Bighorn, the tournament's top seeded doubles duo, took third place after winning four matches and dropping their semifinal match in the winner's bracket of the single/double elimination tournament. Teams that lose before reaching the quarterfinals were eliminated, and the teams that lost in the quarterfinals were dropped to the loser's bracket.

First doubles team of John Hanna and Alden Bothamley took third on the boys side while William Finn and Hayden Lorton will make the trip to districts as alternates after finishing sixth. Goldendale's second doubles team of Kristin Bighorn and Halie Allen took fifth, and will join Johnson and Kelli Bighorn at districts.

Johnson and Bighorn started out at the top of the bracket with a first round bye, and won easily in two sets over doubles groups from Highland in both matches to move on to the semifinals where Naches' top doubles group of Simran Kaur and Sitlali Cortez were waiting. Johnson and Bighorn had beaten the same team in straight sets when they met in Goldendale on May 3, but at subs, Kaur and Cortez were able to hang on to beat Goldendale's top doubles team and finish as the tournament's runner-up.

Johnson and Bighorn won both their loser's bracket matches, including one over Goldendale's second doubles team of Kristin Bighorn and Halie Allen, to clinch third place and a district bid.

Allen and Bighorn picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win over a Zillah team in their first match after earning a first round bye, but dropped to the loser's bracket after dropping a tough three set (8-6, 3-6, 3-6) match to the eventual tournament champs of Kaitlyn Roettger and Sophie Blodgett from Granger.

They beat a team from Naches in their first loser's bracket match, but fell in three sets (6-3, 5-7, 1-6) to Johnson and Kelli Bighorn, sending them into the fifth/sixth place match where the winning team would advance to districts with the loser serving as an alternate. They hung on in three sets (6-3, 4-6, 7-5) over La Salle's second doubles team, and will continue their season this weekend at districts.

Goldendale's girls third doubles team of Ashley Bartkowski and Isabell Nadler-Casimiro won their first round pro set match over a group from Cle Elum 8-0, but fell 2-6, 4-6 in the next round to Kaur and Cortez and were eliminated.

In girls singles matches, Kylee Beam won in three sets (0-6, 7-5, 6-2) over a Highland girl, but fell in straight sets to Naches' Mechelle Busey, who went on to finish third. After dropping the match to Busey, Beam dropped her first match in the loser's bracket and was eliminated.

Both of Goldendale's singles players, Avery Christensen and Cody Farmer, fell in the opening round and were eliminated. The first round matches in the boys and girls singles tournament was single elimination.

In boys doubles action, two Goldendale teams won by forfeit in the opening round while the third doubles team of Jeremiah Ricks and Mark Blunt fell in two sets.

Both Hanna and Bothamley, and Finn and Lorton, won by forfeit over doubles duos from White Swan in the first round. Finn and Lorton then fell to eventual champs Payton Whittaker and Brock Ellis in the next round, while Hanna and Bothamley fell to the same team in the semifinals.

Finn and Lorton picked up a win in their first loser's bracket contest but later fell in the fifth/sixth place match to earn the alternate spot.

After dropping their first match, Hanna and Bothamley then won their next two, finishing third place among the 15 teams on the bracket.

The district tournament starts Friday at 1 p.m. in Connell and continues Saturday at 11 a.m.

A few weeks before the sub district tournament, Goldendale faced Naches in its last home match of the season. The Rangers were the only team to beat Goldendale's girls, doing so on April 10 in Naches, making the home match against them even more important. A team win over the Rangers would put Goldendale in prime position to split the league title with Naches, while a loss would give the title outright to them.

Naches took both singles matches, and Goldendale won the first two doubles matches, setting up a third doubles match for all the marbles. Bartkowski and Nadler-Casimiro had trouble in the first set, falling 1-6, but took the second 6-4 to force a third and decisive set. It was a loud and exciting set, with both teams and fans cheering wildly after points by their team. Goldendale held on 6-4 in the third set to beat the Rangers 3-2, needing team wins in their final two matches to share the league title. They did exactly that, bringing the league championship to Goldendale.

"Matter of fact, that third doubles match (against Naches) ... All my matches are important, but that one was the most important match in my time here," head coach Channon Bighorn said.

It was a long regular season with lots of wins for the Goldendale girls, but Bighorn knew all along that the girls had the talent and depth, along with a great staff of assistant coaches, to make some noise.

"The kids have really bought into the program and did a lot of hard work," Bighorn said. "I have some awesome coaches on my squad who helped me.

"I'm really proud of the community too," Bighorn added. "We get so many comments about how many parents come (to our matches). No other team in the league does that. That's what I really enjoy more. Making it a family atmosphere here."


Last Tuesday in Cowiche, the Goldendale girls clinched a share of the SCAC West championship with their 4-1 win over the Scotties while winning all three doubles matches.

Johnson and Kelli Bighorn (first doubles), Allen and Kristin Bighorn (second doubles), and Bartkowski and Nadler-Casimiro (third doubles) all won in straight sets with all six sets ending in 6-2 Goldendale wins.

Beam won in straight sets (6-1, 6-3) in the first singles match but Simmons fell in two sets at 2-6, 4-6.

The boys also finished the regular season on a winning note, taking four out of the five matches against the Scotties.


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