Spring sports preview: Tennis season underway with loss to Ephrata

Emily Cortade in action against Ephrata. Quncy took varsity players and JV players (like Cortade) to face off against the stripey felines from the county seat.

Tough start notwithstanding, the tennis team has high hopes for 2023.

The Jacks traveled to Ephrata to open their season, and lost 0-5 in their girls’ matches and lost 1-4 in their boys’ matches.

Isaac Dearie won his match against Powell Allmann, 6-1, 7-6, Harrison Hyer lost to Josh Mullings 3-6, 0-6, Alex Gonzalez lost to Jaxon Wietstone, 0-6, 2-6, and the duo of Robert Bensch and Jacob Bishop lost to Jobe VanHeusden and Jackson Addink, 0-6, 0-6. The second doubles match went to Ephrata via forfeit.

Among girls, Sophia Navarro lost to Lexie Diem, 5-7, 2-6; Crystal Vargas lost to Erika Morford, 3-6, 4-6; Valeria Gomez lost to Katrina Bennett, 4-6, 2-6; the duo of Vanessa Quintero and Cirina Ruiz lost to the duo of Kacie Shannon and Molly Brenson, 0-6, 0-6; and Caia Williams and Melanie Alcarez lost to the duo of Ali Helaas and Sienna Addink, 0-6, 1-6.

This is a new chapter in Quincy tennis history, with Rollie Ronish, the girls’ head coach last year, taking over the boys’ side of the team, replacing Matthew See who moved to Hawaii. And replacing Ronish as girls’ coach is his wife, Antonia.

“I thought a girl coach would connect better with girl athletes,” said Rollie of his switch to coaching boys.

The girls are excited and ready to compete and have fun, Antonia said, adding that when the position of girls’ head coach opened up, she thought to herself, “If I don’t start now, when am I going to start?

“It just felt right,’’ Antonia said.

The assistant coaches are the same, Joe Blalock and Reed Hyer. This season, close to 50 students turned out for tennis, which is a little low compared to last year, when close to 70 players turned out. Still, the learning curve seems a little less steep than it was last year.

Still, the team said goodbye to some talented seniors, like Tim Bensch, Tucker Ronish and Marty Gonzalez on the boys’ side and Stephanie Aguirre, Emily Townsend and Savana Mancini on the girls’ side. Aguirre made it to state last year, the first Quincy girl to make it to the state singles’ bracket in years, Ronish said.

Among girls, the team to beat may be Chelan; among the boys Omak and Chelan look strong. With state veteran Harrison Hyer set to play singles throughout this season (he played doubles at state), the squad might end up scoring a few Ws this year. Navarro, a junior, is set to be the lead singles player for the Lady Jacks.

“The team all around is more experienced,” Rollie said. It could be difficult, Rollie predicted, to do well against Ephrata, because many players did not have enough practices to be eligible to play. Antonia said she expects her team to show good sportsmanship and growth throughout the season.

“Tomorrow, we don’t even have a full boys’ team,” he said the day before the Ephrata clash. “We’ll see what happens.” This Saturday’s was the first clash against Ephrata since 2021.

Now that the season opener is out of the way, it does not get much easier for the fuzz-peelers in green. They play today against Othello on the road and then they host Okanogan Thursday.

“We are starting fast,” Rollie said of the back-to-back matches. The schedule also features matchups against Connell, Lakeside, Manson, in addition to the usual slate of CTL foes. Rollie says it’s good to face B teams, since they face 1A teams during the crossover phase of playoffs.

“It’s going to be a good season,” Rollie said. “We got a bunch of good kids out here.”

Tennis schedule

March 15, 4 p.m. Chelan at Othello

March 16, 4 .m., Okanogan at QHS

March 21, 4 p.m., QHS at Chelan

March 23, 4 p.m., QHS at Manson

March 25, 11 a.m., Connell at QHS

March 28, 4 p.m. QHS at Omak

March 30, 4 p.m., Cascade at QHS

April 1, 11 a.m., Wapato at QHS

April 11, 4 p.m., QHS at Cashmere

April 13, 4 p.m., Chelan at QHS

April 15, 11 a.m., Lakeside at QHS

April 20, 4 p.m., Omak at QHS

April 22, 10 a.m., QHS at Wahluke

April 25, 4 p.m., QHS at Cascade

May 4, 4 p.m., Cashmere at QHS