News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Girls tennis crowned District champions

The Lady Outlaws have retained the tennis crown.

The girls tennis team turned in fabulous performances in the final two-day Special District 4 Tournament event held at Prineville High School on Friday and Saturday, May 17-18, and were crowned the District Champs for the second consecutive year. Sisters finished first with 20 points, and Crook County was runner up with 17.

Juhree Kizziar and Katie Ryan (singles) and Leah O’Hern and Sophie Rush (doubles) all earned a berth to the state tournament, which will be held at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, Thursday through Saturday, May 23-25.

Kizziar breezed through her opponents in both the quarterfinals and the semifinals, and in the semis blanked Callie Winebarger 6-0, 6-0.

Coach Bruce Fenn said, “Her opponents had no chance against Juhree’s all-around game. She dominated in every area; her ground strokes, vollies, serves, and returns were all better.”

In the singles championship match, Kizziar defeated Sami Ramos of Crook County 6-2, 6-1. Juhree started off fast, broke Ramos’ serve, and never looked back.

Fenn said, “Juhree’s booming serve created many return errors, and her ability to hit winners at the net gave her a big advantage. She was up 5-1 in the second set and hit a beautiful backhand volley short and angled in the court that was impossible for Ramos to reach.”

“Juhree has practiced two years on feeling comfortable at the net, and it was demonstrated in the finals,” added Fenn.

In addition, Kizziar was honored as Female Player of the Year.

“Juhree had a goal to improve her tennis,” said Fenn. “She demonstrated that by improving her serve and her volley, which took her to the championship round that she won. She’s a great competitor, respects her opponents, puts the time and effort in, and is very deserving of the award.”

Ryan defeated Santillian of The Dalles 6-0, 6-0, in the quarterfinals. In the semis, she fell 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, in a hard fought match to Sami Ramos of Crook County. In the first set, Ryan handled Ramos’ powerful ground strokes, and Fenn told The Nugget it was beautiful to watch. Unfortunately, Ramos hit a few more winners in the final two sets and won the match.

“In that first set Katie took Ramos’ shots on the rise and sent them back effortlessly,” said Fenn.

On Saturday Ryan went on to play for third place and defeated Callie Winebarger of Crook County 6-0, 6-0.

“Katie showed new life this day and easily cruised to a victory seemingly in easy fashion,” said Fenn. “She moved great, and she said she felt really good.”

The doubles duo of Leah O’Hern and Sophie Rush finished third. In the quarterfinals O’Hern and Rush defeated Perez and Chavez (No. 4 seed) from The Dalles 6-3, 5-7, 11-9. They advanced to the semifinals and fell to Engstrom and Housley (No. 1 seed) 3-6, 6-1, 2-6.

Fenn said, “In the semi-finals all matches played were 2/3 sets and add scoring, which means the players need to win by two points in consecutive each game and win two sets to win the match. This is a lot more challenging and fun.”

O’Hern and Rush matched up against Ewing and Yates from Irrigon for third place and won the match 7-6, 6-3.

Fenn said, “O’Hern played aggressively around the net, hit winners, and put pressure on the other team. Rush was consistent from the baseline with her forehand and served many aces. They complimented each other and communicated strategies that helped them win. It was fun to watch them get better and better.”

“These two have been called the ‘tie breaker queens’ all season because about every match they play they go into an overtime called a tiebreaker,” added Fenn. “In the last two years, both girls have never progressed into the championships rounds, and this year they took third and are going to state.”

Rylie Bick and Shae Wyland also were competitors at the district meet. On Friday, Bick fell 6-7, 6-7, to Winebarger of Crook County in the quarterfinals, and Wyland was defeated 1-6, 4-6, by Ramos of Crook County.

On Saturday, Bick and Wyland faced each other in a match for fifth and sixth place. Bick won the contest 6-4, 6-1, to finish fifth.

Fenn was also honored as Co-Coach of the Year, along with the Irrigon coach.

“It was a good feeling to receive the award, but it was more important to see my tennis players receive the team championship,” said Fenn.

Of the final two-day tournament Fenn told The Nugget that his girls showed perseverance, determination, togetherness, and supported each other to win another championship.


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