The Philomath High School tennis program has come a long way since its transition in 2006 from club sport to OSAA-sanctioned status. Over the past 10 seasons, the Warriors have come into their own as a team that routinely sends athletes to the state tournament.
These historic firsts occurred in recent years:
• In the spring of 2015, the Warriors celebrated their first-ever district doubles champion when Nate Haslam and Derek Stucki teamed up for first place. It was the first district tennis champion for Philomath since Carlos Donoso won a singles title in 2009.
• Also in 2015, Megan Kilgore and Hannah Schaeffer became the first PHS girls doubles team to qualify for state.
• Haslam in 2017 became the first PHS tennis player to make it to state in both singles and as a part of a doubles team in different years.
• The Warriors’ boys won their first-ever district championship in 2018 and also finished in the top three at the state tournament for the first time by placing third behind the strength of Luke Haslam and Antoine Feld in doubles and Colton Beckstead in singles.
• In 2019, the girls program qualified two doubles teams for the first time with Lindsay Schell and Ella Skinkis advancing as well as twin sisters Claire and Amelia Skinkis.
• In 2020, Beckstead and Selah Carlisle both earned scholarships to play tennis in college — firsts for both the boys and girls programs.
The presence of the sport has also increased in the general community with the construction of new tennis courts. Later this week, the courts will officially open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony — a point in time that a group of locals have been chasing for several years.
The all-decade period includes teams that competed from the 2010-11 through 2019-20 academic years. Singles and doubles players that qualified for state are all included with rest of the selections filled out by athletes that performed well in district tournaments.
The first and second teams each include selections for No. 1 through No. 4 singles and doubles. Here then are the newspaper’s all-decade tennis teams:
Colton Beckstead (2018-20)
Beckstead might’ve been in line for his best-ever season in 2020 if the pandemic hadn’t eliminated spring sports. During his sophomore year, Beckstead finished as the district runner-up with a highlight coming in the semifinals with a thrilling 7-6, 7-6 win over Crook County’s Javier Dominguez. At the 4A/3A/2A/1A state tournament, Beckstead lost in the first round to the eventual state champion but regrouped to defeat three straight opponents to win the consolation finals.
Beckstead came back his junior year and again reached the championship match at districts. At state, Beckstead moved past the first round with a 6-1, 6-2 win over a Weston-McEwen opponent but then lost to the eventual state champion in the quarterfinals.
This spring, Beckstead became the first known PHS tennis player to earn a college scholarship in the sport. He plans to play tennis at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario.
Nate Haslam (2017)
Haslam played singles for only one season at Philomath and he turned some heads by winning nearly 90% of his matches in 2017.
As a senior, Haslam won the district meet with a two-set victory over a Molalla opponent — an effort that required working through cramping and a rain delay. At state, Haslam won his first-round match over a Baker opponent to advance to the quarterfinals. Going up against Catlin Gabel’s Coleman Sherry, Haslam jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first set but ended up losing.
For the season, Haslam went 14-2 with his two losses coming against the two players that played in the state finals.
Clay Youker (2014-16)
Youker never made it to state but was one of Philomath’s most consistent performers during the decade with his time on the singles court from 2014-16.
During his sophomore season, Youker lost in the quarterfials to the No. 1 seed and eventual district champion. During his junior and senior seasons, Youker again made it as far as the quarterfinals.
As a freshman, Youker played doubles with Zach St. Clair.
Alex Castle (2013-15)
Castle gets the No. 4 singles spot on the first team with his three years at singles from 2013-15. Castle showed improvement from year to year and as a senior, he reached the quarterfinals of the district tournament.
Castle, who played at No. 1 singles all season for the Warriors in 2015, opened with victories over Crook County and Molalla opponents — the latter being one of his most memorable wins in a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 thriller. In the quarterfinals, Castle lost to the tournament’s No. 3 seed.
Second-team singles selections for the all-decade team include Fabian Oppenheim (2016), Tyler Haslam (2013-14), Derek Stucki (2013) and James Erickson (2019).
Luke Haslam/Antoine Feld (2018)
Haslam and Feld teamed up to win the district doubles title in 2018 to advance to state. But from a larger perspective, the two played an important role in helping the Warriors to their first-ever district tennis title, an important milestone in the history of the program.
Haslam and Feld, a foreign-exchange student from Germany who stayed with the Haslam family, made an exciting run all the way to the 4A/3A/2A/1A championship match. Along the way, Haslam and Feld defeated Oregon Episcopal’s top doubles team (during the regular season, they had lost to OES’s No. 2 doubles team).
A Marshfield team defeated the Philomath duo in the state finale but combined with Colton Beckstead's performance in singles, the Warrior boys ended up with a third-place team trophy.
Nate Haslam/Derek Stucki (2014-15)
Haslam and Stucki played for two years together at doubles and had a memorable season in 2015. They defeated a Cascade team in three sets, 6-4, 0-6, 6-2, to win districts.
In the state tournament, Haslam and Stucki got off to a good start on Day 1 with wins over opponents from Ione-Heppner and Cascade. In the semifinals, an Oregon Episcopal pair that would finish as the state runner-up pulled off the win over the Philomath boys.
Austin Haslam/Nathan Stucki (2011-12)
Another Haslam-Stucki combination makes the first team at No. 3 doubles. In 2011, they helped Philomath to a second-place finish at the district tournament at the Portland Tennis Center. They qualified for state and advanced out of a pigtail match and into the first round where they lost to a Vale team. They won a consolation match over a pair from Sherman.
During their senior year, Haslam and Stucki finished as the district runner-up with a close loss to the defending state champions from La Salle Prep in the finals. Then at state, Haslam and Stucki won a first-round match on a 6-0, 6-0 score to advance to the quarterfinals where they lost to the same La Salle Prep team.
Luke Haslam/Nick Stucki (2019-20)
And yet another Haslam-Stucki team makes the first team, this time with the most recent pairing of Luke Haslam and Nick Stucki. During their junior year, Haslam and Stucki won the district title with a win over a Madras pair that they had lost to during the regular season. At state, they entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed but suffered an upset to a Marist Catholic pair that advanced to the semifinals.
Haslam and Stucki were able to rebound, however, and didn’t lose the rest of the tournament. The pair defeated opponents from Nyssa, Marist Catholic and Catlin Gabel to win the consolation finals.
Haslam and Stucki didn’t get another chance in 2020 because of the coronavirus cancellations but likely would’ve been one of the teams to beat at the state tournament.
On the second team for all-decade doubles are Truman Manning and Chandler Stucki (2011-13), Matt St. Clair and Cameron Howard (2012-13), Jeremy Goodrich and Chase Celorie (2011) and Luke Haslam and Alec Stucki (2017).
Gabi Beckstead (2016-18)
The No. 1 singles spot on Philomath High’s all-decade girls first team goes to Gabi Beckstead. During her senior year, Beckstead placed third in the district tournament to earn a trip to state, defeating a Cascade opponent rather easily, 6-4, 6-1.
The state tournament was a big goal for Beckstead her senior season, not only because she had not qualified in the past but because she could compete there with her younger brother, Colton, also making it. Beckstead opened the tournament with a 6-3, 6-4 win over a Vale girl before she was eliminated in the quarterfinals with a loss to the No. 4 seed from Molalla.
Beckstead played No. 2 singles as a sophomore and moved up to No. 1 as a junior and senior. She appeared to have a solid shot at state in 2017 but lost a three-set heartbreaker to a Stayton opponent at districts.
Selah Carlisle (2018-20)
Selah Carlisle had high hopes for the 2020 season before the coronavirus took its toll and started eliminating spring sports. Carlisle was coming off a promising junior season but had fallen short in her bid for state.
In 2019, Carlisle moved into the team’s No. 1 singles spot. At districts, she won an important match over a Woodburn opponent but lost out on qualifying for state with a loss to a player from Cascade.
Carlisle will play tennis at Highline College in Des Moines, Washington — the first PHS female to earn a college scholarship in the sport.
Anna Rose Petersen (2013-14)
Petersen’s best season came as a senior in 2014 when she won her first two matches at districts to reach the quarterfinals.
She started off with wins over Blanchet Catholic and North Marion opponents, both of those in rather easy fashion in straight sets. But she stumbled in the quarterfinals and came up short in her bid to reach the state tournament.
Bethany Nielson (2013-15)
Nielson was one of the program’s top singles players during a stretch from 2013-15. As a sophomore, she reached the consolation finals at districts and defeated teammate Zoey Snyder. The next year as a junior, Nielson made it to the district semifinals before bowing out of the tournament.
Nielson didn’t compete in the 2015 district tournament because of a band conflict. She had been alternating at No. 1 singles that season with Mikayla Stark, who is on the all-decade second team.
Besides Stark (2013-15), others on the second team for singles are Natalie Esterberg (2010-11), Brooke Neiman (2011) and Maddie Melton (2018-19).
Hannah Schaeffer/Megan Kilgore (2013-15)
Schaeffer and Kilgore made Philomath High history in 2015 when they became the first PHS girls doubles team to qualify for the state tournament. They punched their ticket with an impressive 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 win over the No. 2-seeded team from Molalla in the quarterfinals. They lost in the semifinals to a Crook County team and in the third-place match to an Estacada duo.
At state, Schaeffer and Kilgore opened the tournament with a loss to a Westside Christian team. But they found some success in the consolation bracket by advancing to the finals. They won in the consolation quarters over a Baker team and then took a victory in the consolation semis over a Cascade pair. In the consolation championship match, they lost to a Ewing team.
Lindsay Schell/Ella Skinkis (2017-19)
Schell and Skinkis played at No. 1 doubles for three of their four seasons together, the exception being their freshman year when they were in the No. 2 spot. In 2019, they reached the district tournament’s championship match where they had to settle for runner-up with a loss to a Madras team. In the semifinals, Schell and Skinkis had to defeat teammates (and Ella’s sisters), Amelia and Claire Skinkis.
The girls had a rough go of it at state, however, with a first-round loss to a Vale pair, followed by a consolation bracket loss to a team from Cascade.
Schell and Skinkis saw some success with district wins as freshmen, sophomores and juniors but were not able to qualify for state.
Amelia Skinkis/Claire Skinkis (2018-19)
Twin sisters Amelia and Claire Skinkis qualified for state as sophomores with a win in the district third-place match over a team from Cascade.
At state, the twins lost in the first round to the No. 4-seeded team from Marist Catholic, a pair that went on to finish as the state runner-up.
In the consolation quarterfinals, they beat a McLoughlin team. But in the consolation semis, the season ended with a loss to another team from Marist Catholic.
The girls also played together during their freshman season at No. 2 doubles.
Josie Kilgore/Kindra Coleman (2015)
Kilgore, a senior, and Coleman, a sophomore, teamed up in 2015 and had a strong season but just missed out on a trip to state. Playing at No. 2 doubles behind Hannah Schaeffer and Megan Kilgore, the pair opened districts with straight-set wins over opponents from Stayton and Cascade. In the quarterfinals, they dropped a match to a team from Crook County.
The second-team doubles team include Brooke Hammond and Josie Kilgore (2014), Madison Francis and Emma Nelson (2018), Jema Bacho and Kindra Coleman (2014) and Selah Carlisle and Maddie Melton (2017).
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