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PHS tennis: Gary Quandt

PHS tennis coach Gary Quandt meets with players Thursday afternoon following a practice inside the gym.

The Philomath High School tennis program hopes to see the momentum continue this spring.

Off the court, the effort to bring tennis courts to Philomath High received good news recently with the city committing funds and helping with grants.

On the court, the boys won last season's district tournament and tennis has joined other sports with a championship banner going up inside the PHS gymnasium.

The Warriors have an opportunity to pile up more success this season with some key returnees for both the boys and girls. Still, the two rosters are almost opposites with the boys featuring some strong, experienced individuals in key positions while the girls will take the court with good overall depth.

"I should be really strong up top again," PHS coach Gary Quandt said about the boys. "I've got Luke (Haslam) again, who will play doubles. He was state runner-up last year (in doubles with Antoine Feld). And I've got Colton (Beckstead) in singles, who was the consolation winner in the state tournament. So they should do well, although it's a tough league. There are some good players in the league, so it'll be interesting."

Both Haslam and Beckstead are juniors and sophomore Nick Stucki also appears to be in the mix with Quandt saying he will probably pair him up with Haslam at No. 1 doubles.

"They should form a very, very strong team," Quandt said. "Up top, I'm going to be strong, but I'm not going to have the depth I had last year because I lost six from last year's roster — three seniors and three exchange students."

As of last week, the program had 37 students participating — 22 girls and 15 boys.

"We lost Gabi (Beckstead) and Zoe (Boynton), so we only lost two seniors, but I was very deep last year," Quandt said about the girls. "As far as the freshmen from last year, they're going to contribute a lot as sophomores. It's almost like a reversal (from the boys); I'm going to be pretty deep with the girls."

The top positions look capable, especially when it comes to doubles. The No. 1 team of juniors Lindsay Schell and Ella Skinkis are back as are the No. 2 doubles pair of sophomore twins, Amelia and Claire Skinkis.

Quandt expects junior Selah Carlisle to move up from No. 2 to No. 1 for singles. Senior Madison Francis is a prospect for the No. 2 slot.

"Everybody who's going to play all 12 of those slots are people who played last year," Quandt said. "So the depth will be a little bit stronger. I think we have a shot at regionals because of the depth. The depth is what does it for you generally."

The schedule appears to be similar to previous years, including the boys participating in a tournament at Oregon Episcopal School and the girls competing in a Junction City event. But there are some competitions a little closer to home compared to recent years.

"Almost all of my preseason matches are closer — South Albany, Crescent Valley and Central," Quandt said. "We travel so much during the season so I asked Tony (Matta, athletic director) to get my preseason matches closer."

Quandt said the Warriors haven't played Crescent Valley, so that's a new addition to the schedule.

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