SNOHOMISH — For the past week, little brother had bragging rights.
Now, they belong to big brother.
One week after a narrow loss to his younger brother in the league tournament final, Edmonds-Woodway senior Russell Anderson returned the favor at district.
Russell Anderson captured the Class 3A District 1 boys tennis singles tournament title with a hard-fought 7-6 (7-2), 7-5 victory over sophomore Steven Anderson in an all-sibling championship match Thursday afternoon at Snohomish High School.
“He’s been messing with me for the last week,” Russell said with a smile. “(Now) I’m gonna mess with him for a good week.”
The talented Edmonds-Woodway brothers have grown up together on the tennis court as hitting partners, teammates and some of each other’s biggest fans.
This was the third time they’ve squared off in an official high school match.
The first instance came last year, when Russell defeated Steven for the Wesco 3A South tournament title. The second came last week, when Steven beat Russell 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 for this year’s Wesco 3A South crown. And then there was Thursday’s encounter, which saw Russell take back the upper hand.
“His strokes were really solid from the baseline,” Edmonds-Woodway coach Dan Crist said. “He wasn’t making a whole lot of errors, and that’s what he has to do to beat his brother. His strokes have been good. He was looking good this tournament.”
Like their previous matchups, the district final was another highly competitive affair. Several times during the match, Russell shook his head and smiled after watching Steven return tough shot after tough shot.
“Whether it’s training or in a match, he just doesn’t give me anything to work with,” Russell said. “Just every single ball I think I won — no, he’s there, (and I’ve) gotta win it again. He is tough, man.”
It was the second consecutive district title for the Anderson brothers. Steven won last year’s district singles tournament, while Russell placed third.
“Since freshman year, I’ve really wanted to be here,” Russell said. “I’ve wanted to hold one of these medals. So it’s just a great feeling, especially to beat such a great player.”
To win the district title, Russell had to avenge his only two losses of the season.
In the district semifinals, Russell defeated previously unbeaten Snohomish junior Cade Strickland 6-3, 6-3. Russell had suffered a three-set loss to Strickland earlier this fall.
And then on Thursday, Russell pulled off a similar feat by avenging last week’s loss to Steven.
“I was really just able to mentally bring it,” Russell said. “… I was ready to go (and) didn’t let any of the past results affect me.”
After their one-two finish at district, the Anderson brothers will make another trip to the 3A state tournament next May. Russell reached the 3A state quarterfinals last year, while Steven claimed a fifth-place state medal.
“We’re both just gonna get back to training,” Russell said. “(This) is only the beginning. We’ve got six months to train, and then it’s to state.”
SHOREWOOD PAIR WINS DOUBLES TITLE
Shorewood seniors Blake Gettmann and Murray Falkin claimed the 3A District 1 doubles title with a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Edmonds-Woodway’s Grant Oliver and Nalu Akiona in the championship match.
It avenged the Shorewood pair’s 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 loss to Oliver and Akiona in last week’s Wesco 3A South doubles final.
“It’s amazing. It’s awesome,” Gettmann said. “You work all year for this — every practice goes into it. … It feels like everything paid off.”
It’s the second consecutive district doubles title for Gettmann, who claimed last year’s doubles crown with then-senior Ethan Farley. The pair went on to place eighth in last year’s 3A doubles state tournament.
Gettmann, who has played doubles all four years for the Stormrays, needed a new partner this season after Farley graduated. Falkin, who didn’t have any previous doubles background, played doubles with Gettmann at a tournament this past summer.
Early this fall, they decided to play doubles together for Shorewood. And it ended up being an excellent match.
“The two of them have really developed a really good chemistry on the court (and) good communication,” Shorewood coach Arnie Moreno said. “And they’re just both really good players.
“Murray is solid, steady and he really keeps the ball in play,” he added. “And Blake is the finisher. He’s just dynamic on the court, and he’ll find a way to finish off points. So it’s a good, winning combination.”
OTHER TOP LOCAL PLACERS
Strickland bounced back to take third place in singles, while Monroe sophomore Zach Overbay placed fourth.
Edmonds-Woodway’s Jude Wilcox and Armon Mkrtychev took third place in doubles. Arlington’s Ty Rusko and Cooper McBride placed fourth.
For both singles and doubles, the top three district finishers secured berths to next May’s 3A state tournament. The fourth-place finishers also are likely to receive state berths.
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