State Tennis Tournament: LaLone falls short of title

The third time wasn’t the charm for Megan LaLone of Stanwood.

The Spartans singles player reached her third consecutive 4A state final, but like the previous two trips she could not finish the tournament with a victory, falling to Skyview’s Sammi Hampton 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to finish second.

“I felt like I was in it, she just got the edge at the end,” LaLone said.

LaLone’s road to the final was more difficult than expected. While Hampton cruised in straight sets in her semifinal match, LaLone battled for three hours and 10 minutes against Union’s Jelena Vidovic before prevailing 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2).

“It was a tough match,” said LaLone. “We were both pretty even. It was just who wanted it more, I dug from my gut… I just didn’t want to lose.”

But the length of the match and a nagging ankle injury, limited LaLone’s mobility in the final and made it difficult against a quicker, fresher opponent.

“(Hampton) was good at running her opponent and was really fast,” said LaLone. “I’m glad I got to play in another final… I’ve learned from every state tournament, but it’s definitely disappointing.”

Along with LaLone, the only other local entrant that had a chance to win a state championship was the Kamiak doubles team of Alyssa and Jenna Gilbert.

The Knights’ duo rallied to win their semifinal match over Issaquah’s Sam Garrard and Kelsey Wilson 1-6, 7-5, 6-2, but lost to Angela Chen and Amie Vo of Newport in the final in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0.

Still, the Gilberts’ result along with Annie Yang and Zoe Jovanovich (7th) and Sally Park’s fourth-place singles finish meant that Knights won a second straight team title. Kamiak finished with 20 points, eight more than second-place Skyview.

“The goal was to repeat (as team champion),” said Kamiak head coach Heidi Bloemker. “They battled back, it wasn’t an easy road, but I’m just real proud that we were able to repeat.”

Stanwood’s Gergo Muller was the lone local boys entrant to win a second day match. Muller dispatched Ferris’ Tom Geranios 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 to place fifth in the 4A tournament.

Battling for fourth place in 3A girls doubles was two teams very familiar with each other, the Mountlake Terrace pair of Gillian Braden-Armstrong and Nicole Bouche and Shorewood’s Francesca O’Malley and Daniella Brenglemann. The Wesco teams split two close matches in the postseason with the Hawks’ pair winning the 3A Sub District and the Thunderbirds team taking the 3A District 1 championship. In the rubber match, Braden-Armstrong and Bouche won comfortably 6-3, 6-2.

“(Braden-Armstrong and Bouche) made a few adjustments,” said Mountlake Terrace coach Alberto Ramirez. “They struggled trying to adjust to a lefty (O’Malley), but it became more familiar by the third match.

Also placing fourth was Meera Limaye of Shorecrest, who defeated Kennewick’s Stephanie Buckinham 6-4, 6-2 to finish in 3A singles.

Finishing in eighth place was Marysville Pilchuck’s Sarah Tuemmler (4A girls singles), Shorecrest’s Juan Ramirez (3A boys singles) and the Shorewood doubles team of Hunter Nelson and Miles Jamieson (3A boys).

South Whidbey’s Hayley Newman lost to Michelle Chiou of Hockinson 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in a 2A girls consolation round match.

Boys and girls state championships

Singles—4A boys 5th/8th place: Gergo Muller Stanwood def. Tom Geranios (Ferris) 7-5, 4-6, 6-3; 4A girls semifinal: Megan LaLone (Stanwood) def. Jelena Vidovic (Union) 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2); Final: Sammi Hampton (Skyview) def. LaLone 6-2, 4-6, 6-4; 4th/7th: Sally Park (Kamiak) def. Leslie Ho (Central Valley) 6-1, 6-0; 5th/8th place: Kylee Tyler-Breimon (Battle Ground) def. Sarah Tuemmler (Marysvile Pilchuck) 6-0, 6-0; 3A boys 5th/8th place: Luke Thompson (Hanford) def. Juan Ramirez (Shorecrest) 7-6, 7-6; 3A girls 4th/7th place: Meera Limaye (Shorecrest) def. Stephanie Buckinham (Kennewick) 6-4, 6-2; 2A girls consolation: Michelle Chiou (Hockinson) def. Hayley Newman (South Whidbey) 6-2, 3-6, 6-4; Doubles—4A girls semifinal: Alyssa Gilbert-Jenna Gilbert (Kamiak) def. Sam Garrard-Kelsey Wilson (Issaquah) 1-6, 7-5, 6-2; Final: Angela Chen-Amie Vo (Newport) def. A. Gilbert-J. Gilbert 6-1, 6-0; 4th/7th place: Lauren Lang-Mina Park (Federal Way) def. Annie Yang-Zoe Jovanovich (Kamiak) 6-4, 6-4; 3A boys 5th/8th place: Zack Elliot-Ben Elliot (Mercer Island) def. Hunter Nelson-Miles Jamieson (Shorewood) 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) 3A girls 4th/7th place: Gillian Braden-Armstrong-Nicole Bouche (Mountlake Terrace) def. Francesca O’Malley-Daniella Brenglemann (Shorewood) 6-3, 6-2.

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