By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– It was certainly toasty Thursday for the first weekend of the 1A-4A Girls Districts Special District 2 at Cascade High School.
Maybe a little too toasty as the court itself magnified that.
“It was pretty because we’re not use to it and it seems like on the court, it’s way hotter because it seems like it bounces off of the courts,” said Cascade’s Jenna Schnepp. “And so it was hard and it’s Oregon and it’s our first hot day and that was a really long match.
For Clara Pedersen, a exchange student from Demark at Stayton High School and facing Schnepp, points to the heat in Turner, Oregon, USA Thursday, is something that her homeland in Europe doesn’t get into late into their year.
“Usually the heat comes later in the summer, and it’s a lot more like, the heat here is longer, earlier to later than we have it,” said Pedersen on the heat in Denmark and at Turner. “But I like it.”
Pedersen and Schnepp found themselves in the direct sunlight during their ‘Pigtail’-‘Play-in’ match Thursday at about 11-11:30am with the winner taking on the third seed-Gabriella Beckstead from Philomath.
Schnepp went up on Pederson 6-3 in the physically-,and mentally-draining match with the sun bearing down on them on Court 1.
A Cougar Coach stopped the match and asked Schnepp if she was ok, the sophomore waved off her coach and continued though you could tell that the heat was taking a toll on her.
Pedersen, a senior, though calm and composed-looking overall, also had the look of discomfort with the heat herself during the match mixed in.
The senior mounted a charge, looking comfortable as she did in all of her badminton matches back home as you saw some traces of the badminton strokes with her tennis swings as she rallied back for the 9-7 win to advance.
Schnepp, with the look of frustration, admits that they aren’t accustom to playing in this heat as they were in years past as she’ll take away lessons from this match into the future with the consolation bracket and into next year.
“It was super hard, it was super hot and I got down on myself and I shouldn’t have and I know that. But I still kept on trying until the end there, I felt like I shouln’t have lost that, but that was really hard,” starts Schepp.
“Just remember what that felt like because being up 6-3 and then losing 7-9, it was really frustrating, so next year, I’m going to try not to get down on myself because that was totally mental and I know that because I could’ve won, but I got down on myself. So next year, I’m going to remember, not to do that.”
As Pedersen looked forward to Beckstead, she knows she’ll need to come out more aggressive for that match.
“It was a really hard match because of the heat and she was really good at hitting the ball away, but I made mistakes,” said Pedersen. “I’ll definitely try to play harder because I didn’t shoot very hard, I played very safe and I feel like now I should try and risk more because I’m going to be play a very good player.”44
She did just that, taking the first match 6-4 before losing a hard-fought second one 6-7. Pedersen jumped out to a 3-1 lead before Beackstead cut it to 3-2 as a thunderstorm delay would prove enough to recharge the stud athlete from Denmark to a 6-2 victory to advance to Madras Wednesday.
Joining Pedersen from Stayton are Emma Lindemann (6-0, 6-0 winner), Rachel Doran (5-7, 6-2, 6-4) 133, The doubles duo of Jones/Ferres (6-1,6-0) too advance on to Day 2 of the 1A/2A/3A/4A District Championships.
Though Schnepp did not advance, six Lady Cougars too advance. Three singles and three double teams advance to Wednesday’s Big Dance in Madras.
Erica Mitchell won her match over Rio Jensen 6-2, 6-3 to advance to Madras despite battling through some consistency with her rallies Thursday.
“You know that was tough, she was very consistent and I wasn’t being very consistent. Just getting rallies, sustaining the rallies,” said Mitchell. “Cause I was hitting it right to her, it was a easy shot. So I think if I work on consistency, I think I’ll be ready for my next match.”
Faith Drill and (name) Borcher were too a ‘Pig-tail’-‘Play-in’ team who made it to the Madras dance. But it looked rough as they dropped the first set 2-6.
Slowly, the doubles team rallied and answered the bell as they took the second set 7-5 and then, like their Lady Eagle counterpart in Pedersen, used the momentum from their second set to take the third set 6-4 to stun the third-seeded Schell-Skinkis team from Philomath.
“It was unexpected but amazing, we just kept keeping each other up,” said Faith Drill. “We kept telling each other, ‘don’t worry you got the next one’, just kept it positive.”
As for the Denmark Express, as she enjoys the High School experience here in America and battling through the heat that’s reminding Oregonians that summer in the States is just a month away, one thing sticks out to her:
The Driving. Not in a bad way, but in that Americans drive more than the Danes do and that the driving age in the USA is lower than that in Denmark.
“People over here drive more than we do, it’s kind of scary to be in a car with 16-year-olds (driving),” laughed and smile Pedersen. “It’s 18 (In Denmark), but I guess now they changed it to 17, but it’s so scary I don’t know.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald