Hanford Champion
Year: 2007
Team: Tennis (Girls)
Name: Molly Knox (Singles)
State Tournament - Second Place
STATE TOURNAMENT DAY 2 - MAY 26, 2007

It's been 28 long years since Kennewick High School crowned a state tennis champion.

Thanks to seniors Natalie and Nicole Kirch, the Lions can begin a new chapter after the twins won the 3A state doubles title Saturday at Tri-City Court Club.

"It feels good," said Natalie after she and her sister beat Columbia River's Christine Wang and Maria Homnick 6-3, 6-1. "We weren't thinking about how long it's been, we just wanted to do our best."

The only state title in Kennewick tennis history before Saturday was a girls doubles crown won by Sarah Williams and Teri Hallett in 1979.

The Lions finished third in the team standings behind Columbia River and champion West Valley, which earned its first-ever state title when freshman Alexis Filliol beat Hanford's Molly Knox 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-2 in girls singles.

Mercer Island won the boys title with 19 points, while Seattle Prep (14) was second and Newport (11) third.

Davis Mangham of Lakeside won his second straight singles title after beating Chris Bailey of Mercer Island 6-1, 6-3. Lakeside finished fourth in the boys team standings with 10 points.

The Kirch twins trailed 2-1 in the first set, then rallied to tie the score and take a 3-2 lead. But it was the sixth game of the set that changed the tempo of the match.

With Homnick serving, the game went to deuce nine times before Homnick sent a shot long, giving the Kirch twins a a 4-2 lead. Nicole Kirch held serve for a 5-2 lead, then put away a shot in the next game for a 6-2 first-set win.

The Kirches held serve throughout the second set and an overhead smash by Nicole finished off the match.

"I thought these guys were really good," Natalie said of the Columbia River team. "Everyone played at the top of their game."

The difference in the match? "We kept our intensity up," Nicole said. "We stepped into their serves and attacked at the net. They had the toughest volley that we've seen."

Knox, who had placed third the last two years, was hoping to add another state title to the family tree -- her older sister Kasey, won the 3A singles title in 2004 -- but leg cramps and a reoccurring shoulder injury left her with second place.

"My shoulder has been my downfall all year," Knox said. "That hurts my serve and makes you think about it. That and the leg cramps, I was pretty miserable. Running is a big part of my game and when I can't do that, it's hard.

"Alexis is a really good player and we've had four really good matches this year."

Filliol's victory in the finals evened their matches at two apiece, with Knox winning at districts and regionals and Filliol at the Inland Empire and state.

Knox won the first set 7-6 (3) before dropping the second 6-3 as her shoulder started to give her problems.

Knox won the first two games of the third set before leg cramps limited her mobility.

"I saw her starting to stretch and I just kept it steady and ran her a lot," Filliol said. "It would have been nice if she would have been healthy the whole way."

Filliol's title was a first for the Rams.

"It's exciting," she said. "I can't believe I won. I'm a freshman and I had nothing to lose. I just hit away."

Chris Winterbauer and Trevor Fulp of Mercer Island won the boys doubles title, beating Brian Jenkins and Charles Quay of Seattle Prep 6-4, 7-6 (3).

Hanford's Jake Knox and Curtis Lan placed third after outlasting Loren Lo and Patrick Boorkman of Newport, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Ali and Allan Ta of Kennewick were in the running for fourth place in the doubles, but fell one match short after losing a 7-6, 6-1 match to Michael Schuster and David Schuster of North Thurston.

STATE TOURNAMENT DAY 1 - MAY 25, 2007

Ali and Allan Ta celebrated their 18th birthday Thursday.

Friday, the Kennewick seniors celebrated their two wins at the 3A state tennis tournament -- the first ending a 22-year drought of a Lions boys player winning a match at state.

"It was nice to break that losing streak," Allan said.

The Ta's 6-1, 7-6 (1) opening-round win over Aaron Flores and Sean Wannello of Lakes at Tri-City Court Club was the first by any Kennewick boys player since 1985 when Warren Dykeman finished 1-2 in singles.

The Ta twins lost their quarterfinal match, 6-4, 6-3 to Loren Lo and Patrick Boorkman of Newport, but rebounded with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Mark Ishimitsu and Trevor Takani of Hazen to stay alive for fourth place.

"We had too many unforced errors," Allan said of their quarterfinal match. "My serve return could have been better. But we're still in it for fourth."

Which means a lot to the twins, who never played organized tennis until their freshman year.

"I just want a medal," Ali said. "And a state shirt."

The Kennewick girls doubles team of Natalie and Nicole Kirch will wind up with a medal of some sort after advancing to the semifinals of the girls tournament at Kamiakin High School.

Hanford's Molly Knox moved into the girls singles semis without dropping a game, while the Falcons' boys doubles team of Jake Knox and Curtis Lan earned a trip to the semifinals, having to rallied from a set down in the quarterfinals to advance.

The Kirch twins lost just four games in advancing to their semifinal match against Amelia Carpenter and Michele Zemplenyi.

The Kirch's first win over Tracy Pennell and Bethany Visser of Squalicum also ended a 22-year void of any Kennewick girls placing at state, dating back to 1985 when Traci Vickerman and Betsy Bergman reached the doubles semifinals.

"We are excited," Nicole said. "The competition isn't what we thought it would be, but we had good movement and our timing was on."

Molly Knox, who placed third the last two years, cruised into the semis with straight set wins over Alena Owens of Shorecrest and Stephanie Nicholson of Camas.

"It's relaxing having the tournament at Kamiakin," said Knox, who will play Rachel Storz of Holy Names in today's semis. "I got this far the last two years but it didn't work out. This year, I didn't play volleyball so I could work on tennis the whole year."

Jake Knox and Lan had no trouble with their first-round opponents, Taylor Pothier and Josef Muska, beating the Ferndale duo 6-0, 6-0.

But Knox and Lan had to work for their quarterfinal win, coming back from a 5-7 loss in the first set to beat Wes Nomi and Andrew LaCava of Seattle Prep 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

"When you have scores like that, you know you beat a good team," said Knox, who will meet Seattle Prep's Brian Jenkins and Charles Quay in the semis. "They both had good serves and good ground strokes, but we were a little better at the net."

In boys singles, Kennewick's Johnny Buckingham lost both of his matches, while Quin Miller of Kamiakin won his first match, but lost the next two in making an early exit.

Miller won his opening-round match 6-1, 6-2 win over Dominik Altendorf of Sedro-Woolley before falling to Andrew Blackner of Capital, 6-4, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

In the consolation round, Miller dropped a 6-2, 6-1 match to Frederick Walsh of Newport, the same player who eliminated Buckingham in a loser-out match earlier in the day.

4A boys

Troy Zuroske is making the most of his last-minute invitation to the 4A state tournament.

The Richland freshman went 2-1 on the first day of play at the Vancouver Tennis Complex, winning his first match and two consolation matches to remain in the running for fourth place.

The Bombers doubles team of Elliott Martin and Chris Shallman also are still alive after losing their first match. They have a chance to finish fourth.

Zuroske, who finished fifth at regionals last week, took advantage of his alternate status when Miguel Candido of Lewis and Clark had to back out Wednesday because of a mandatory foreign exchange student tour.

Zuroske opened the tournament with a hard-fought 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 6-3 victory over Richard Oam of Jackson. He then dropped a 6-3, 6-4 quarterfinal match to Scott Sullivan of Puyallup before winning his consolation match with Abe Chang of Davis.

4A boys tournament

Boys singles--First round: Avi Allison (Gar) d. Ethan Vaughn (Mead), 6-3, 2-6, 6-4; Spencer Nevin (Prairie) d. Paul Namkoong (Bellarmine Prep), 6-4, 6-2; Kent Stormans (Olympia) d. Abe Chang (Davis), 6-2, 7-6(6); Max Manthou (Kentwood) d. Chad Merkley (Snohomish), 6-0, 6-1; Eric DeBusschere (Olympia) d. Alex Lin (Jackson), 6-2, 6-1; Whitman Hough (Ferris) d. Dalton Vavra (So. Kitsap), 6-2, 6-1; Scott Sullivan (Puyallup) d. Tal DeWitt (Battle Ground), 6-2, 6-2; Troy Zuroske (Richland) d. Richard Oam (Jackson), 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-3. Second round: Nevin d. Allison, 6-2, 6-1; Manthou d. Stormans, 6-1, 6-2; DeBusschere d. Hough, 7-6(3), 6-7(2), 6-3; Sullivan d. Zuroske, 6-3, 6-4. Consolation round 1: Namkoong d. Vaughn, 6-1, 6-2; Chang d. Merkley, 6-4, 6-0; Vavra d. Lin, 2-6, 6-2, 2-0 Ret; Oam d. DeWitt, 6-2, 6-. Consolation round 2: Namkoong d. Hough, 7-6(1), 6-2; Zuroske d. Chang, 6-2, 6-2; Allison d. Vavra, 0-6, 6-4, 6-3; Oam d. Stormans, 6-2, 6-4.

Boys doubles--First round: Tom Plunkett-Frankie Pavia (Garfield) d. Elliott Martin-Chris Shallman (Richland), 6-4, 6-1;

Consolation round 1: Martin-Shallman d. Blevins-Houser, 6-1, 6-4; Redfern-Tafoya d. Sing-Bradley-Hewitt, 6-1, 6-0; Martin-Johnson d. Kang-Bae, 6-2, 6-4; Russell-Yang d. Shepard-Woodward, 6-3, 6-3. Consolation round 2: Martin-Shallman d. Collen-Henderson, 6-0, 6-2; Redfern-Tafoya d. Williams-Williams, 7-5, 7-6, 2-3, Def.; Martin-Johnson d. Hoolihan-Hamilton, 6-4, 7-5; Cadagan-Satre d. Russell-Yang, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

4A girls tournament

Girls singles--First round: Christina Le (Evergreen) d. Aya Sugimoto (Cen. Kitsap), 6-1, 6-4; Elise Otto (L&C) d. Kelsey Mickels (Stanwood), 6-0, 6-0; Natalie Agarycheva (Prairie) d. Nell Shonnerd (Bellarmine), 6-2, 6-1; Alyssa Ferry (Emerald Ridge) d. Kylea Gleason (Redmond), 6-1, 6-1; Judy Liening (Todd Beamer) d. Hallie Martin (Roosevelt), 6-1, 6-1; Kari Fiske (Shorewood) d. Julia Galbraith (Bellarmine), 2-6, 6-2, 6-1; Anna Lambert (Gon. Prep) d. Anna Chatilo (Shorewood), 6-0, 6-0; Christy Sipes (Gig Harbor) d. Katie Griffith (Ferris), 6-3, 6-3. Second round: Le d. Otto, 7-5, 6-0; Agarycheva d. Ferry, 6-1, 6-1; Liening d. Fiske 4-6, 7-5, 6-4; Sipes d. Lambert, 6-1, 6-2. Consolation round 1: Sugimoto d. Mickels, 6-3, 6-0; Shonnard d. Gleason, 6-0, 6-3; Galbraith d. Martin 5-7, 6-3, 6-2; Griffith d. Chatilo, 6-0, 6-0. Consolation round 2: Sugimoto d. Fiske, 6-3, 6-2; Lambert d. Shonnard, 6-3, 6-2; Otto d. Galbraith, 6-2, 3-6, 6-0; Griffith d. Ferry, 6-3, 6-3.

3A boys tournament

Boys singles--First round: Lance Wilhelm (Peninsula) d. Mike Kung (Sammamish), 7-5, 6-3; Davis Mangham (Lakeside) d. Connor Thorp (Kennedy), 6-0, 6-0; Andrew Blackner (Capital) d. Nick Kamisar (Skyline), 6-0, 6-0; Quin Miller (Kamiakin) d. Dominik Altendorf (Sedro-Woolley), 6-2, 6-1; Chris Bailey (Mercer Isl.) d. Derek Cooley (Ft. Van), 6-0, 6-1; Alex VanDerschelden (Riverside) d. Marco Dehmel (Shorecrest), 6-4, 6-4; Matt Huynh (No. Thurston) d. Johnny Buckingham (Kennewick), 6-2, 6-4; Bryan Thorp (Kennedy) d. Frederick Walsh (Newport), 6-2, 6-2. Quarterfinals: Mangham d. Wilhelm, 6-1, 1-0 (ret.); Blackner d. Miller, 6-4, 6-1; Bailey d. VanDerschelden, 6-3, 6-2; Thorp d. Huynh, 6-2, 0-6, 6-4. Consolation round 1: Kung d. Thorp, 6-1, 6-0; Kamisar d. Altendorf, 6-1, 6-0; Dehmel d. Cooley, 6-2, 6-3; Walsh d. Buckingham, 6-1, 6-1. Consolation round 2: Kung d. VanDerschelden, 6-3, 6-1; Kamisar d. Huynh, 7-5, 6-0; Dehmel d. Wilhelm, 0-2 (ret.); Walsh d. Miller, 6-2, 6-1.

Boys doubles--Dylan Olbrich-Allen Roberts (Columbia) d. Kevin Kosanke-Seppi Hutter (Bellevue), 6-1, 6-1; Brian Jenkins-Charles Quay (Seattle Prep) d. Elliot Appel-Tam Nguyen (No. Thurston), 6-0, 6-2; Wes Nomi-Andrew LaCava (Seattle Prep) d. Mark Ishimitsu-Trevor Takani, 6-4, 6-0; Jake Knox-Curtis Lan (Hanford) d. Taylor Pothier-Josef Muska (Ferndale), 6-0, 6-0; Chris Winterbauer-Trevor Fulp (Mercer Isl.) d. Justin Clark-Brett Russell (Enumclaw), 6-1, 6-0; Michael Schuster-David Schuster (No. Thurston) d. David Ehrlichman-Brian Sharkey (Shorecrest), 6-2, 6-4; Allan Ta-Ali Ta (Kennewick) d. Aaron Flores-Sean Wannello (Lakes), 6-1, 7-6(7-1); Loren Lo-Patrick Boorkman (Newport) d. Jason Lim-Frazier Chan (Kennedy), 6-2, 7-5. Quarterfinals: Jenkins-Quay d. Olbrich-Allen, 6-1, 6-4; Knox-Lan d. Nomi, LaCava, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4; Winterbauer-Fulp d. Schuster-Schuster, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3; Lo-Boorkman d. Ta-Ta, 6-4, 6-3. Consolation round 1: Kosanke-Hutter d. Appel-Nguyen, 6-1, 6-2; Ishimitsu-Takani d. Pothier-Muska, 7-6(0), 6-3; Clark-Russell d. Ehrlichman-Sharkey, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3; Lim-Chan d. Flores-Wannello, 6-0, 6-1. Consolation round 2: Schuster-Schuster d. Kosank-Hutter, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5; Ta-Ta d. Ishimitsu-Takani, 6-3, 6-4; Olbrich-Roberts d. Clark-Russell, 6-2, 6-4; Nomi-LaCava d. Lim-Chan, 6-3, 6-4.

3A girls tournament

Girls singles--First round: Maggie Becker (White River) d. Molly Donohue (Bainbridge), 7-5, 6-4; Rachel Storz (Holy Names) d. Melissa Nguyen (Hazen), 6-1, 6-3; Stephanie Nicholson (Camas) d. Audrey Motto (Interlake), 6-2, 6-1; Molly Knox (Hanford) d. Alena Owen (Shorecrest), 6-0, 6-0; Nicole Fleckenstein (Seattle Prep) d. Jane Connelly (Highline), 6-2, 6-0; Lisa Kromholtz (Peninsula) d. Carly Stroud (Sedro), 6-3, 6-4; Alexis FIlliol (West Valley) d. Tinka Hanan (Pt. Angeles), 6-0, 6-0; Jennifer Skardon (Col. Riv) d. Anissa Bryant-Swift, 6-2, 6-0. Quarterfinals: Storz d. Becker, 6-1, 6-1; Knox d. Nicholson, 6-0, 6-0; Fleckenstein d. Kromholtz, 6-1, 6-1; Filliol d. Skardon, 6-2, 6-1. Consolation round 1: Donohue d. Nguyen, 6-3, 6-2; Motto d. Owen, 6-4, 6-2; Connelly d. Stroud, 6-4, 6-0; Bryant-Swift d. Hanan, 6-4, 6-1. Consolation round 2: Donohue d. Kromholtz, 6-2, 7-5; Skardon d. Motto, 6-1, 6-1; Becker d. Connelly, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1.

Girls doubles--First round: Amelia Carpenter-Michele Zemplenyi (Merc) d. Shania Cade-Christine Kirkpatrick (Sumner), 6-1, 6-2; Lauren Whatley-Catherine Phelps (Lakeside) d. Maddie Guidos-Jennifer Cheadle (Highline), 3-6, 6-4, 7-5; Michele Miyauchi-Tomomi Matsushita d. Ellie Eckroth-Robin Serquinia (Auburn), 6-2, 6-4; Nichole Kirch-Natalie Kirch (Kennewick) d. Tracy Pennell-Bethany Visser (Squalicum), 6-1, 6-1; Brooke Shorett-Jamie Slonaker (Bainbridge) Jessica Grover-Carly Holtgraves (Auburn), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1; Vi Nguyen-Keilah Fanene (Evergreen) d. Nicole Dutton-Mallory Good (Everett), 6-0, 6-7(8-10), 6-3; Brooke Foster-Jayme Gilmore (West Valley) d. Jena Russell-Stephanie Hughes (Capital), 6-0, 6-0; Christine Wang-Maria Homnick (Col. Riv.) d. Kerry Gugliotto-Stefanie Johnson (Skyline), 6-2, 6-1. Quarterfinals: Carpenter-Zemplenyi d. Whatley-Phelps, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(3); Kirch-Kirch d. Miyauchi-Matsushita, 6-1, 6-1; Nguyen-Fanene d. Shorett-Slonaker, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2; Wang-Homnick d. Foster-Gilmore, 6-3, 6-7(2-7), 6-0. Consolation round 1: Guidos-Cheadle d. Cade-Kirkpatrick, 6-4, 6-4; Eckroth-Serquinia d. Pennell-Visser, 6-2, 6-0; Dutton-Good d. Grover-Holtgraves, 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-3; Russell-Hughes d. Gugliotto-Johnson, 7-6, 7-5. Consolation round 2: Shorett-Slonaker d. Guidos-Cheadle, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3; Foster-Gilmore d. Eckroth-Serquinia, 6-1, 6-1; Whatley-Phelps d. Dutton-Good, 6-1, 6-2; Russell-Hughes, d. Miyauchi-Matsushitsu, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

PRE-TOURNAMENT NOTES - MAY 24, 2007

Where: Kamiakin High School and Tri-City Court Club.

May 25th First-Round Matchups

Boys Singles: Quin Miller, sr., Kamiakin vs. Dominik Altendorf, jr., Sedro-Woolley, 8:30 a.m. Johnny Buckingham, sr., Kennewick vs. Matt Huynh, jr., North Thurston, 8:30 a.m.

Boys Doubles: Jake Knox, soph.-Curtis Lan, soph., Hanford vs. Taylor Pothier, soph.-Josef Muska, sr., Ferndale, 10 a.m. Ali Ta, sr.-Allan Ta, sr., Kennewick vs. Aaron Flores, jr.-Sean Wannello, sr., Lakes, 10 a.m.

Girls Singles--Molly Knox, sr., Hanford vs. Alena Owen, jr., Shorecrest, 10 a.m.

Girls doubles: Natalie Kirch, sr.-Nicole Kirch, sr., Kennewick vs. Tracy Pennell, sr.-Bethany Visser, sr., Squalicum, 8:30 a.m.

EASTERN REGIONAL TOURNAMENT RESULTS - MAY 19, 2007

Hanford's Molly Knox beat West Valley's Alexis Filliol for the second week in a row, 6-3, 7-5 to earn the No. 1 spot. This opens the door for Knox's fourth trip to state.

Quinn Miller (Kamiakin), meanwhile, defeated Johnny Buckingham (Kennewick) 6-1, 6-2 to decide the boys singles' top two seeds while Jake Knox and Curtis Lan gave the Falcons yet another No. 1 state berth with a 6-4, 0-6, 6-1 defeat of the Lions' Ali and Allan Ta.

State Qualifiers

Boys Singles--Championship: Quinn Miller (Kamiakin) d. Johnny Buckingham (Kennewick) 6-1, 6-2. Second place (winner to state): Buckinghman d. Jason Wuerch (Mt. Spokane), 6-4, 6-1.

Boys Doubles--Championship: Jake Knox-Curtis Lan (Hanford) d. Ali Ta-Allan Ta (Kenn) 6-4, 0-6, 6-1. Second place (winner to state): Ta-Ta d. Peter Brown-Tyler Claar (Kam) 6-2, 7-5.

Girls Singles--Championship: Molly Knox (Han) d. Alexis FIlliol (West Valley), 7-5, 6-3. Second place (winner to state): Filliol d. Caitlin Bampton (Kam), 6-4, 6-0.

Girls Doubles--Championship: Nicole Kirch-Natalie Kirch (Kenn) d. Brooke Foster-Jayme Gilmore (WV), 6-3, 6-2. Second place: Foster-Gilmore d. Casebier-Brother (East Valley), 6-3, 6-4.