If you take to the tennis court against Dominik Gorecki, you’d better be ready to run and fight for every point.
The Columbia River sophomore did his share of grinding out victories in the fall and again at the Class 3A state tournament last month.
All-Region boys tennis team
Player of the year
Dominik Gorecki, so., Columbia River
Class 3A Greater St. Helens League MVP after playing an undefeated season. 3A bi-district tournament runner-up. Placed eighth at state for a second year in a row.
Rest of All-Region team
LANE COOPER, SR., COLUMBIA RIVER: 3A GSHL doubles team of the year with Ian David, placed third at bi-district and seventh at state.
IAN DAVID, SR., COLUMBIA RIVER: 3A GSHL doubles team of the year with Lane Cooper, placed third at bi-district and seventh at state.
ALEX CHANTHAVONG, SR., UNION: 4A GSHL doubles team of the year and district champion with Jacob Buckley, 4A state qualifier.
JACOB BUCKLEY, SR., UNION: 4A GSHL doubles team of the year and district champion with Alex Chanthavong, 4A state qualifier.
COLTON REED, SO., MOUNTAIN VIEW: 3A GSHL district doubles champion with Nick Shiraishi and state qualifier. First team 3A GSHL singles.
NICK SHIRAISHI, SO., MOUNTAIN VIEW: 3A GSHL district doubles champion with Colton Reed and state qualifier.
Gorecki went undefeated against Clark County competition in the fall season, losing only in the bi-district championship match. He then went 2-2 at state at the end of May to place eighth for a second year in a row.
For his complete body of work, Gorecki is The Columbian’s All-Region boys tennis player of the year.
Gorecki admits he’s not a powerful player yet — he just turned 16 Tuesday. His strength is in making his opponents work.
“I usually just wear down my opponents,” he said. “I make (opponents) hit a lot of balls and move a lot. I’m not the biggest kid, so I have to make you hit. I’ve been taught it’s easier to cut down on errors than hit winners.”
After losing his first-round match at state to the same player who beat him for fifth place at state last year, Gorecki won two three-set matches (both times losing the first set) to get back to the fifth-place match in which he lost in straight sets.
Because there is a big gap between the end of the fall season and the May state tournament, Gorecki makes sure to hit as much as possible in the “off” season. He takes part in a program at the University of Portland where he hits for two hours, four days a week with other high school athletes and a college player.
“It helps supplement my high school tennis,” he said. “I can keep my level up. Being able to play year-round helps with that.”
He is ranked 18th in the Pacific Northwest by the United States Tennis Association in the boys 16s age group. That just builds his confidence.
“I’m able to know that I can compete with these upper-level kids,” he said. “It gives me confidence going into high school play or (other) tournaments. It gives me a reason to keep pushing forward to try and improve my number.”
To help get the number higher is a busy summer of local tournaments, USTA events, and the hope of getting into a zonal tournament.
Gorecki enjoys playing USTA events, but he really likes what he gets out of playing for Columbia River.
“It’s a different atmosphere when you have a team behind you,” he said. “It’s nice to know that if you lose the players are there for you and then you can root them on.”
MORE Q&A: Visit the high school blog for more insight into the All-Region tennis players of the year.
VIEW INTO PAST: Look at past winners of this honor, and other sports to by clicking here.