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Sunnyside's Plesha qualifies for State (again)

YAKIMA - Sunnyside tennis ace Danny Plesha punched his fourth consecutive trip to the 3A State tennis tourney by taking the Regional crown this past weekend.

Plesha also captured his fourth consecutive Regional title. Three of those came as a doubles player and this year's was in singles.

Plesha's march to Seattle-site of this weekend's 3A State tourney-started with a 6-0, 6-0 whitewash of Clarkston's Casey Skinner.

That was followed by Plesha's 6-0, 6-0 romp over Curtis Lan of Hanford in the semifinal. Grizzly Coach Troy Whittle said Plesha had a "golden set" in the second, not allowing a single point. "That's almost unheard of at this level of play," Whittle said.

In the finals, Plesha lost his one and only game of the match in a fairly routine 6-0, 6-1 sweep of Hanford's Jake Knox.

Sunnyside's hope of sending a doubles team to state was cut short when Jake Wavrin and Tyler Thompson were eliminated 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round by the duo of Servatius and Beeler from Clarkston.

"We blew it," noted Whittle. "We killed them (Servatius/Beeler) the first set and all of a sudden our ground strokes left us."

Whittle said Thompson and Wavrin tightened up after the first set victory. "They just lost focus and confidence," he said. "They weren't playing the same way they did at Districts."

Sunnyside's lone female athlete at Regionals, Jerika Martinez, was eliminated in the first round, via a 6-3, 6-4 loss to Jessica Casebier of East Valley (Spokane).

Despite the disappointing finish against a player that Whittle felt Martinez could beat, the coach praised the senior's growth in the sport.

"Jerika didn't start playing until her sophomore year, so for her to make it to State in doubles last year and to Regionals this year is an accomplishment," Whittle said.

Plesha will close out his Sunnyside tennis career at this weekend's 3A State tourney to be held at the Nordstrom Center on the University of Washington campus.

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