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HRSC tennis team misses nationals by a tie-breaker

By ADAM LAPIERRE

News staff writer

June 28, 2006

The Hood River Sports Club’s Senior Men’s 3.5 tennis team competed over the weekend in the Pacific Northwest Section Championships in Sun River. The men, led by captain Clark Emmerson and Coach Kevin Beeson, played against 60 other teams and 350 individuals in the four-day tournament, which they qualified for by winning the Eastern Washington Regional tournament in March.

After opening with wins against the Valley Athletic Club, from Tumwater, Wash., and Courthouse, from Salem, the Hood River Sports Club team advanced to the tournament finals, where they played for a chance to represent Hood River, and the USTA Pacific Northwest Section in the USTA League Tennis National Championships. They lost 2-1 in the championship to the Wenatchee Racquet Club.

“It was somewhat of a heartbreaker for us to lose against Wenatchee,” Beeson said. “We beat them twice this year to make it to sectionals. I think the guys played great, though. Making it to sectionals is incredibly tough, and making it to the finals is even tougher, especially when you look at the size of the pool of players we have in Hood River compared to other clubs.”

The tournament, which featured players who are 50 years old or over, was grouped into four different ability levels, with play consisting of the best of three doubles matches, with the outcome decided by team scoring. The Hood River Sports Club team consisted of Emmerson, Chris Smith, Bill Sturman, Greg Shepherd, Douglas Powrie, Steve Gates and Doug Beveridge.

The team opened with a solid 3-0 win against the Valley Athletic Club. Sturman and Powrie teamed up to win their match 4-6, 6-2 and 1-0. Gates and Shepherd played to a 6-3, 7-5 win and the duo of Beveridge and Emmerson won 4-6, 7-5 and 1-0.

The men followed with a 2-1 victory against Salem’s Courthouse team. Sturman and Powrie won their match 7-6, 4-6, 1-0 and Gates and Shepherd won 7-5, 6-2. The team’s first loss of the tournament came when Beveridge and Emmerson lost a tough 6-3, 6-4 match.

In the following round, which took place on Saturday, Hood River lost 2-1 against the Clackamas River Racquet Club. The team’s win came from Powrie and Sturman, who nearly skunked their opponents 6-0, 6-1.

In the finals, Beveridge and Sturman paired up at the number-one doubles spot. The two lost 6-4, 6-4. Gates and Shepherd won their match 6-3, 6-3 at the number-two spot, leaving the championship to be decided by Emmerson and Beveridge. The two opened with a 6-0 win which, unfortunately, was followed by a 6-1 loss, leaving the match to a tiebreaker.

“This was the first year we’ve had a men’s seniors’ team,” Beeson said. “And for them to come one point from going to nationals is awesome.”

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