With the high school boys tennis season in full swing, here’s a look at some of the top local players and teams to watch.
The regular season, league tournaments and district tournaments take place this fall. The state tournaments are next May.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Henry Park, jr., Jackson
Park earned a second-place medal in the Class 4A state singles tournament last spring to help lead the Timberwolves to the 4A state team title. He and teammate Ben Lee delivered the title to Jackson with a pair of top-five singles finishes, giving the Timberwolves enough points to edge Kentridge atop the team standings. Park rattled off three consecutive straight-set victories to reach the state championship match, where he fell to four-star recruit and current Air Force Academy player Phillip Deaton. Park is a three-star recruit, according to the Tennis Recruiting Network.
Ben Lee, soph., Jackson
Lee earned a fifth-place medal in last spring’s 4A state singles tournament, teaming with singles runner-up Henry Park to give the Timberwolves the 4A state team title. Lee had the misfortune of facing eventual state champion Phillip Deaton in the first round, but responded with three consecutive straight-set victories to battle through the consolation bracket for a fifth-place finish. Lee, a three-star recruit, captured last year’s 4A District 1 singles title by beating Park in the championship match. This fall, Lee opened the season with a straight-set win over returning 4A state quarterfinalist Ryan Wu of Newport.
David Song, fr., Jackson
Song, a two-star recruit, is off to a 7-0 start in singles this fall. He’s won all seven matches in straight sets. Jackson coach David Hutt said Song can compete with returning state medalists Henry Park and Ben Lee for the team’s top spots.
Steven Anderson, soph., Edmonds-Woodway
Anderson captured the 3A District 1 singles title last fall and took fifth place in this past spring’s 3A state singles tournament. He lost his state round-of-16 match, but bounced back with three consecutive victories in the consolation bracket to claim the fifth-place medal. Anderson, a three-star recruit, is 7-0 in singles this fall. He’s won all seven matches in straight sets.
Russell Anderson, sr., Edmonds-Woodway
Anderson, like his younger brother, is coming off a success-filled singles season. He claimed the Wesco 3A South tournament title, placed third in the 3A District 1 tournament and won his state opener to reach the 3A state quarterfinals. Anderson, a two-star recruit, is 7-1 in singles this fall and has seven straight-set victories. His only loss was a three-set defeat to unbeaten Snohomish standout Cade Strickland.
Cade Strickland, jr., Snohomish
Strickland, the defending Wesco 3A North singles tournament champion, is off to an impressive 9-0 start in singles this fall. He owns eight straight-set victories and has beaten a pair of returning state qualifiers, with a three-set triumph over Edmonds-Woodway’s Russell Anderson and a straight-set win over Bothell’s Amil George. He placed fifth in last year’s 3A District 1 singles tournament, falling one spot short of state after a pair of losses to the talented Anderson brothers from Edmonds-Woodway.
Blake Gettmann, sr., Shorewood
Gettmann and since-graduated Ethan Farley excelled as a doubles pair last season, placing eighth in the 3A state tournament. They took a perfect 15-0 doubles record into state and captured both the Wesco 3A South and 3A District 1 tournament titles. Gettmann has continued his doubles success this fall, sporting a combined 6-0 record with partners Murray Falkin and Nathan Hagemeier.
JD Drake, soph., Shorewood
Drake is 7-1 in singles this fall, while splitting time between the Stormrays’ No. 1 and 2 spots. He’s won seven matches in straight sets.
Xander Gordon, fr., Shorewood
Gordon is 7-1 in singles this fall and has six straight-set victories, while splitting time between the Stormrays’ No. 1 and 2 spots. His only loss was a competitive two-set defeat to Jackson standout David Song.
Ylli Berisha, sr., Meadowdale
Berisha placed fourth in the Wesco 3A South singles tournament last season and is off to a 6-1 start in singles this fall. His only loss was to Edmonds-Woodway standout and returning state qualifier Russell Anderson.
Cole Balen, jr., Archbishop Murphy
Balen took third place in the 2A District 1 singles tournament last season, falling one spot short of advancing to state. He’s 5-2 in singles this fall, with a loss to returning Jackson state medalist Ben Lee and a three-set tiebreaker defeat to Meadowdale standout Ylli Berisha.
Drew Jansen, jr., Glacier Peak
Jansen is off to a strong start in singles this season, with his only loss coming to unbeaten Snohomish standout Cade Strickland. He has a pair of match-clinching wins for the Grizzlies.
TEAMS TO WATCH
The perennial powerhouse Timberwolves captured their program’s second 4A state team title this past spring, thanks to a pair of top-five state singles medals by Henry Park and Ben Lee. And with both state medalists back and the addition of talented freshman David Song, Jackson (5-2, 3-0 Wesco 4A) has an elite top-end trio that should give the program a chance to contend for another state crown. Last week, the Timberwolves edged defending Wesco 4A champion Kamiak 4-3 in the first of two key league matches between the teams. The rematch is Oct. 5.
The Knights are coming off a success-filled campaign last fall that included a 14-1 regular-season record, their first Wesco 4A crown since 2014 and the 4A District 1 team title. They graduated four all-league players from last year’s team, including 4A doubles state medalists Aaron Lee and Josh Lee. But with good depth and a strong No. 1 doubles pair in senior Zach Boonsripisal and junior Alex Yang, Kamiak (7-1, 4-1 Wesco 4A) is off to another good start. The Knights’ only loss this fall was last week’s 4-3 defeat to fellow league title contender Jackson.
Led by standout brothers and returning state qualifiers Steven and Russell Anderson, the Warriors (8-0, 3-0 Wesco 3A/2A South) have outscored opponents 54-2 during a dominant start this fall. The Anderson brothers led Edmonds-Woodway to a second-place team finish in last year’s 3A District 1 tournament and a fifth-place team finish at the 3A state tournament. The Warriors face Shorewood on Wednesday in a pivotal league match that likely will determine the Wesco 3A/2A South regular-season title.
The Stormrays captured last year’s 3A District 1 team title behind a pair of state-qualifying doubles teams that took first and second place at district. Shorewood graduated three of the four members from those standout doubles teams. But the Stormrays again feature an array of talent, led by returning doubles state medalist Blake Gettmann and talented underclassmen J.D. Drake and Xander Gordon. Shorewood (7-1, 3-0 Wesco 3A/2A South) has outscored opponents 46-10 this season, with its only loss being a 4-3 defeat to a strong North Creek team.