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Sunnyside qualifies six for State

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Sunnyside's Erica Mendez sends the ball back to a Clarkston player during the first round of Regionals. Mendez and her teammate, Jerika Martinez, finished the Regional tournament as the No. 1 seed to State.

This past weekend the Sunnyside girls tennis team did what no other Lady Grizzly girls tennis team has done in recent memory, they took the Regional championship. After fighting hard, Sunnyside's two girls doubles team ended with the No. 1 and 2 seeds to State.

Also putting in a championship performance this past weekend was the Sunnyside boys doubles team of Johnny and Danny Plesha. The two brothers walked away with the boys doubles Regional championship, making them three-time Regional champs.

The Sunnyside girls doubles team of Erica Mendez and Jerika Martinez started Regional action against a team from Clarkston, winning in straight sets.

"They played really well," Sunnyside Coach Troy Whittle said.

He added that during practice just a few days before Regionals Mendez had suffered a sprained ankle, but still managed to take to the court over the weekend.

The win put Mendez and Martinez in the semi-finals against a team from North Central High School.

"They got off to a slow start," Whittle said of his team. But after losing the first set, Mendez and Martinez came back to win the match 4-6, 6-2, 6-0.

After scoring the win against North Central, Mendez and Martinez went on to the championship round.

Sunnyside's other girls doubles team of Dolores Gomez and Lanna Pangle won their first match of the tournament against East Valley High School of Spokane. The Sunnyside team won 6-4, 6-4.

From that match, Gomez and Pangle went into the semi-finals against a team from West Valley.

"I told them to just relax and have fun," Whittle said. "They played fabulously."

Gomez and Pangle won the match 6-2, 6-1, putting them in the championship round against their teammates, Mendez and Martinez.

In the championship match it was Mendez and Martinez who managed to land the win and earn the No. 1 seed to State. Mendez and Martinez won over Gomez and Pangle 7-5, 6-2.

After losing to Mendez and Martinez, Gomez and Pangle had to play another match to determine who would be the No. 2 seed to State. They played against a team from West Valley, and after losing the first set 6-4, they managed to come back and win 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-2.

Whittle said this is the first time to his knowledge that the Sunnyside girls team has won the Regional championship.

As for the boys, overall the team finished second behind Clarkston, but the Pleshas did snag the boys doubles Regional championship.

The Pleshas started Regional play against a team from Ellensburg, winning 6-1, 6-0. The win put the two Sunnyside boys in the semi-finals against a team from West Valley High School of Spokane. The Pleshas were once again able to win handily, running away with the match 6-0, 6-1.

The Pleshas were soon in the final match, playing against a team from West Valley High School, a team they have played more than 10 times in the past two years.

"Danny and Johnny just came out on fire," Whittle said.

The Pleshas won the match 6-0, 6-0, and clinched the championship title and the No. 1 seed to State.

"Johnny played great," Whittle said. "His serves were three digits (speed wise).

"They just dominated the tournament," Whittle added.

Overall, Whittle said Sunnyside did very well at Regionals. He noted Sunnyside's record during the tournament was 9-1, with the loss coming when one Sunnyside team faced another Sunnyside team.

This means Sunnyside will be taking six players to State, which begins this Friday at the University of Washington.

"We're excited to be there," Whittle said of the upcoming State tournament.

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