Monday, September 20, 2021
Sept. 20, 2021

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All-Region boys tennis: Andrew Kabacy, Skyview

Senior went out on top with a second 4A state singles title

By , Columbian sports staff
Published:

Looking back at images of when he was a freshman, playing No. 2 singles for the Skyview boys tennis team, senior Andrew Kabacy said he wouldn’t have imaged that youngster would become a two-time state champion.

“I would not have believed it because the kids I looked up to who got second place were way better than I ever was,” Kabacy said.

And yet here he is, at the end of the four-year high school journey with four state tournament appearances and back-to-back 4A state singles titles on his racket.

Kabacy finished his prep career by defeating Clemente Varas of Eastlake of Sammamish 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the championship at Richland.

This was on top of defending his district and bi-district titles back in the fall on his way to the state tournament in May. For all this, Kabacy is The Columbian’s boys tennis player of the year for a third consecutive year.

Kabacy said once he was through the bi-districts in October, he knew he had to put in the work to win another state title.

Because, after all, state titles don’t come easily to someone with a target on their back.

“This year we had much tougher opponents, so I really had to step up and work hard and everything,” Kabacy said. “When I won (bi-districts), and I was like, ‘OK, doing the same thing as last year.’ I just needed to put in the work to get the results I wanted.”

The state draw had Kabacy in the same half of the bracket as longtime friend Gunnar Harlan of Battle Ground.

They had already faced off in the district and bi-district finals in the fall with Kabacy winning both times.

“When I saw the bracket, I immediately thought it would be harder (than last year), and it was definitely harder than last year,” Kabacy said. “Everyone steps up their game because everyone moves up a year. And there were lots of new opponents in the bracket. Much more challenging.”

Kabacy beat Harlan 6-3, 7-5 in the state semifinal to reach the final against Varas, also a senior, who entered state undefeated.

Skyview coach Jay Gowen said after the final, it was Kabacy’s refuse-to-lose attitude that took him to the finish line. After losing the second set, Kabacy said he went back to “having fun” on the court and that led him to victory.

“You play sports to have fun, and that’s the most important thing,” Kabacy said.

Just as important for Kabacy is the team aspect of high school tennis. For a second straight year, Skyview won the boys team title. For Kabacy, this was just as exciting as his own accomplishment.

“It’s exciting to write Skyview history and be a part of that legacy,” he said. “It’s nice to win state for yourself, but it’s really cool to be part of something that’s never been done before for Skyview.”

As he heads off to Willamette University in Salem, Ore., Kabacy said the high school tennis experience is something he would never give back.

“It has been the best experience for tennis I’ve ever had,” he said. “Lots (of young players) choose not to play high school tennis, but it’s been the most fun I’ve had. You learn a lot of social skills, learn how to interact with a team, you get to make great friends. And I think that is something that a lot of kids miss out on.

“Obviously that state tournament is extreme high level of tennis. Some matches during the season are easy matches, but if you don’t play in high school you don’t get to know what it’s like to be on a team and get that experience, which is good to have.”

All-Region boys tennis

SINGLES

Player of the year — Andrew Kabacy, sr, Skyview: Won back-to-back 4A singles state titles; also district and bi-district singles champion.

Gunnar Harlan, sr, Battle Ground: Placed third in 4A state singles, runner-up at district and bi-district, 4A GSHL singles player of year.

Spencer Cultice, sr, Ridgefield: Semifinalist at 2A state, placed sixth; 2A GSHL singles player of year.

DOUBLES

Chris Sheppert, sr, and Joey Gaylor, jr, Skyview: 4A state semifinalists, placed sixth; 4A GSHL doubles team of year.

Alex Calpagiu, sr, and Quinn Lamey, sr, Union: State quarterfinalists, district champs and third at bi-district.

Edmund Hsu, sr, and Vincent Hsu, fr, Mountain View: Placed eighth at 3A state, district champs and third at bi-district, first team 3A GSHL doubles.

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