By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The Stayton doubles team of Kassidy Strand and Charlotte Ritchie came into the 4A/3A/2A/1A Special District 2 Tournament this week sitting as the third seed and came within one set-win from advancing to the District Championship match. Falling to the Cascade duo of Kenna Coleman and Natalee Federico 5-7, 6-4, 4-6 and falling to the third-fourth match as their semi-final match came down to the overtime slot as the deciding factor in the match.
Having never placed as a duo before, they made it happen this Spring. Tired, yes, and the fatigue was there. But Ritchie and Strand worked through it in the third-fourth place match from Philomath of Bacho-Dodson.
Ritchie was the anchor, the vocal leader of the pari in keeping their spirits up as they took third-place 6-2, 6-3 over the Warrior pair. Tennis can be such a grueling sport in the head that you can’t focus on being down, but instead pushing through and pulling through it.
“I think it was just important to stick with it with energy and attitude. It’s everything, it’s such a mental game,” Ritchie said.
They’ll join freshman Laina Atiyah, who finished fourth in the Singles Division Friday, in going to State. The two hopes that last year’s experience will help them and prepare them for State this upcoming trip to the State Meet on May 20 at Oregon State University.
“I think (last year) really helped us grow. Working together for all four years of High School, we really improved and were there for each other. During school, after tennis and it’s been really cool,” Strand said. “We knew that it was going to be out last year playing tennis, but our last year playing as partners. So we really turned it up a notch and I’m glad we did.”
“We kinda realized that we needed to put it all on the court and that’s where we had to leave it. No matter how tired we were before or afterwards, it feels so great I’m so excited,” smiled Ritchie. “It’s a really big moment for us because we’ve never placed at District before, so it’s a really big moment for us.”
For Atiyah, the first-year High School player came into the District Tournament as the third seed and picked up straight-set victories over Megan Reese (Philomath 6-1, 6-0), Rubie Burge (Molalla 6-4, 6-0)
and Brooke Harper (Sisters, 6-0, 6-0) before falling to the second seed in Juhree Kizziar of Sisters in straight-sets. The Eagles frosh battled through the fatigue of the day and tournament of the third-place match that followed, but couldn’t edge her competition for third as she advanced to State following her fourth-place finish.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald