So the Meadowdale senior went right back to practice the next day to prepare for the district tournament.
His hard work was rewarded Wednesday afternoon, as Ekern defeated Glacier Peak's Patrick Luangrath 6-4, 7-5 (7-3) to take his second-straight 3A District 1 title.
"He isn't going to take time off," said Meadowdale head coach Warren Bailey "I told him he could take a day off (last Thursday after the league tournament) to let the body recover. He said, 'No we need to practice. We need to win districts.'"
Then Ekern went out and did just that. Ekern dropped only one set in the entire tournament, although he was close to needing a third set against Luangrath.
"It was a really good match," Bailey said. "It was honestly one or two shots away from going to a third set."
Luangrath got into the final by beating Shorecrest's Nishant Limaye, the No. 1 seed from the 3A South who defeated Ekern in the Wesco 3A South title game. The Glacier Peak player hadn't lost a set in the district tournament until going against Ekern.
In his senior year, Ekern set high goals for himself. Wednesday he accomplished the first of his lofty ambitions. The next comes at the state tournament which doesn't get underway until May 30th.
"We set the goal pretty high for this season," Bailey said. "We felt if we didn't repeat at districts we wouldn't look at it as a loss, but our goal was to win districts again. Our new goal is to finish in the top five in state.
"We like to set the bar pretty high."
In the interim Bailey knows Ekern will continue to work hard. He thinks the senior will work on fine tuning his game before the state tournament. Bailey isn't sure if Ekern will take a day off before then.
"I know tonight he wanted to go get a nice fat cheeseburger and some french fries," Bailey said of the very health-conscious Ekern. "He might enjoy this one but he's one of those kids."
... There's no one else I'd want out there for me or that I'd put my money on."
Ekern wasn't the only repeat champion at the 3A District tournament. Shorewood's Stuart Schachle and Cameron McDowell defeated the Shorecrest doubles team of Andrew Copsey and Chris Sato 6-3, 6-4 in the title game to secure their second-straight district championship. Last season Schachle and McDowell defeated Sato and Nick North 6-3, 6-3 in the first-place game. This year, North partnered with Emahd Khan, and the duo lost to Sato and Copsey in the semifinals, but rebounded to win the third-place game.
North and Khan will play the No. 3 seed from Kingco in a crossover game to determine a state berth.
At Stanwood H.S.
Singles--Championship match: Nick Ekern (Meadowdale) def. Patrick Luangrath (Glacier Peak), 6-4, 7-6 (7-3). Third-place match: Nishant Limaye (Shorecrest) def. Jonathan Spores (Stanwood), 6-0, 6-1. Consolation semifinals: Limaye (SC) def. Logan Keebler (Shorewood), 6-2, 6-1; Spores (St) def. Ulises Aceves (Everett), 6-1, 6-4. Doubles--Championship match: Stuart Schachle-Cameron McDowell (Shorewood) def. Andrew Copsey-Chris Soto (Shorecrest), 6-3, 6-4. Third-place match: Nick North-Emahd Khan (Shorecrest) def. Ethan Jones-Tucker Davis (Glacier Peak), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3. Consolation semifinals: Jones-Davis (GP) def. Brady Garcea-Bristan Kelley (Stanwood), 1-6, 6-2, 6-3; North-Khan (SC) def. Henry Jennings-Garrett Goshern (Stanwood), 6-2, 6-1.
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