Prairie’s David Kriss and Evan Prentice spent all of the 2016 boys tennis regular season as doubles partners before Prentice, as described by coach Chris Linquist, “lit it up” at the district and bi-district tournaments as a singles player, ultimately falling one win shy of reaching the Class 3A state tournament.
“It was a lot of fun,” Kriss said. “We had code words and everything.”
So, of course, they looked forward to challenging each other’s strengths — or maybe going back to the code-word memory bank just for fun — since the senior teammates, now both singles players, reached Saturday’s 3A district tournament for an all-Prairie showdown in the final.
Maybe next week, instead.
A way for that to happen after Prentice won the 3A district singles title after Kriss’ injury default is if the pair square off in the winner’s bracket of next weekend’s bi-district tournament. Because that means the seniors will qualify for the state tournament for the first time.
A week ago, Kriss bruised his knee at Club Green Meadows, the site of this weekend’s district tournament in a dual match against Evergreen. After straight-set wins Friday in his opening round and quarterfinal matches, his three-set semifinal win guaranteed his first bi-district berth.
He topped Hudson’s Bay’s Andy Garcia, 7-5, 2-6, 6-0 Saturday, which led to an all-Prairie final after Prentice beat top-seeded Tyler Livingston of Evergreen in his semifinal. Garcia led 5-4 in the first set before Kriss won three straight points to take the set — and eventually the match — then taking an injury default in the final.
It was part of a big day in singles for the Falcons, who won the district team title and advanced three singles players and a doubles team to next weekend’s West Central/Southwest bi-district tournament in Spanaway. The top four singles players and doubles team from Saturday’s conclusion of the tournament advance to bi-districts.
As dominant as the Falcons were in singles, it was the same story for Mountain View in doubles. The Thunder are taking all three doubles teams after taking the district’s Nos. 1, 2 and 4 spots.
Brothers Edmund and Vincent Hsu defeated Josh Kim and Lu Abuizza in the doubles final 6-4, 6-2.
It’s the second year in a row Mountain View is represented by six players at bi-district. After advancing one pair to state in 2017, coach Nick Frost wants more than a strong showing by numbers.
“Hopefully, we’ll do some damage,” he said.
That’s why he loaded his players in doubles with the idea of getting as many pieces to the next postseason level.
And the strongest opportunity is in doubles, led by the Hsu brothers, who were the Thunder’s Nos. 1 and 2 singles players this season.
Vincent Hsu, a freshman, went undefeated at No. 1 singles while Edmund Hsu, a senior and returning bi-district doubles player, had one loss at No. 2 singles.
And pairing up, even if only for a short time, brings out the best tennis in each other because that’s how it’s been for years.
“It’s the small things,” Edmund said, “Between points, we go to each other and bring each other up for miss shots.”