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Sunnyside taking six to Regionals

ELLENSBURG - It's been a long, hard fought season for the Sunnyside boys and girls tennis teams, but the recent District competition proved that hard work pays off. Six Grizzly players advanced from the District competition to Regionals.

Taking a second place finish at Districts was Sunnyside's No. 1 doubles team of Erica Mendez and Jerika Martinez. The two girls went into the competition with a first-round bye, but then found themselves playing a tough Prosser team in the second round. Mendez and Martinez fought hard against Prosser, winning the match 7-5, 6-3, putting them in the quarterfinals.

The two girls went up against a doubles team from Ellensburg in the quarterfinals, winning 6-1, 6-3.

In the semi-finals, which were played Monday, Mendez and Martinez found themselves going up against West Valley's No. 2 doubles team, winning 6-4, 6-3.

The win brought the Sunnyside team up against West Valley's No. 1 doubles team of Heather Hickman and Jamie Gilmore.

"They lost a battle," Sunnyside Coach Troy Whittle said of Mendez and Martinez.

The Sunnyside team lost to West Valley 7-5, 2-6, 7-6.

Whittle said the girls were up 5-2 in the first set, but lost to the West Valley team and in the third set they were down 4-1, came back and still lost.

Despite the loss, the Sunnyside girls took second at Districts and will be the No. 2 seed at Regionals.

Also advancing to Regionals is Sunnyside's No. 2 doubles team of Lanna Pangle and Dolores Gomez.

The team started District competition playing West Valley's No. 3 doubles team and won 6-1, 1-6, 7-5.

"It was a very close match," Whittle said.

During the second round, Pangle and Gomez went up against Ashley Plata and Audrey Smith of Prosser. Pangle and Gomez finished the match with a 6-4, 6-0 win.

The win put the two girls in the quarterfinals against Ellensburg's No. 1 doubles team. Sunnyside won 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.

Pangle and Gomez then went up against West Valley's Heather Hickman and Jamie Gilmore. It was during this match that the Sunnyside girls experienced their first loss, falling to the West Valley team 6-1, 6-2.

Following the loss, the Sunnyside girls went on to play West Valley's No. 2 doubles team, winning 5-7, 7-5, 6-3. The win left Sunnyside with a third place finish at Districts and a spot in this coming weekend's Regional tournament.

Whittle said the girls team ended up finishing third overall at the District tournament.

"They really had a good tournament," Whittle said. He noted that he is taking four girls on to Regionals, adding that in his years of coaching he has never taken more than one girl to the Regional tournament.

On the boys team, Sunnyside's No. 1 doubles team made up of Johnny and Danny Plesha not only made to the Regional competition, but they also earned the District doubles championship.

The Pleshas had a first round bye going into Districts, and then played Prosser's No. 3 doubles team in the second round, winning 6-1, 6-0.

The next team the Pleshas took on was Ellensburg's No. 2 doubles team, winning 6-0, 6-0. The victory put them in the semi-finals.

In the semi-finals, the Pleshas played against a team from Wapato, which was the fourth seed going into Districts. The Pleshas won 6-1, 6-0.

The win put the Pleshas in the championship round, where they took on a team from West Valley.

Whittle added that just before the match, Johnny Plesha had gotten food poisoning and vomited between sets during the last match.

"But they still squeaked out a win," Whittle said.

The Pleshas won the District championship 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.

The boys team also finished the District tournament in third place.

Whittle said he is happy with his team's performance this year, noting that taking six players to Regionals is very good.

Sunnyside will begin Regional play this weekend at Sunnyside.

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