The second time around is always much sweeter.
Sherman senior Meghan Belshe placed fourth overall during the Special District 4 4A/3A/2A/1A Tournament held last Friday and Saturday at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.
“I am very excited to go to state for the second time,” Belshe said. “I am very proud of my accomplishments this season. It was my only goal to make it to state again this year, and I’m proud that I was able to achieve that goal.”
Belshe vaulted into the winner’s bracket quarterfinals in her first match with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Vale’s Sable Kelso.
In her next two matches, however, Belshe ended up on the losing end of back-to-back matches to secure fourth place.
Her first loss came against Audrey Vogt, of Ontario, 3-6, 2-6, and then in her third and fourth place contest, she was upended by Ontario’s Alexis Schwartz by final scores of 2-6, 3-6.
In a tournament that featured primarily 4A and 3A competition, Belshe earned the distinction of being the only 1A participant to move on to state, something she is very proud of.
“It is very exciting that I get to go once more, especially since there were girls from Ontario, Vale, Baker City, La Grande and Nyssa there,” Belshe said. “They are very competitive and have amazing tennis programs, not to mention they are all bigger schools.”
Following her initial state berth as a doubles player in 2014, the landscape of the 4A/3A/2A/1A changed drastically.
“I went to state my freshman year, and then they changed the district format, which made it a million times harder to make it to state,” Belshe said.
On the doubles side, the No. 1 Sherman duo of C.J. Johnson and Savannah Moe had a challenging bracket and nearly pulled off an opening-round win in a match versus Ontario’s Alicia Maldonado and Haleigh Taylor.
The Ontario tandem inched by Johnson and Moe by a 7-5 margin in the opening set to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
After that, they cruised to a 6-1 second-set win to advance, eventually ending up fourth in the standings.
With that loss, Johnson and Moe had the task of vying for a consolation championship and had to fight through Weston-McEwen’s Mary Bagdon and Christian Swafford.
The last time these two doubles played against each other, during sub-district play on May 6, Johnson and Moe scored a 6-1, 6-4 win on their way to a doubles title.
On this day, however, Bagdon and Swafford exacted some revenge with an 8-2 pro-set triumph. They would end up winning the consolation crown.
“C.J. and Savannah may have lost both of their matches, but they all fought hard and I’m proud of how far they all made it this year,” said Sherman head coach Kalie Rolfe.
Earlier today, Belshe was in Corvallis for the 4A/3A/2A/1A state championships, where she had hopes of making some noise.
Regardless of the outcome, Belshe is excited about what she was able to accomplish in her final high school season.
“I was so gunning for making it to state and I was going to do whatever it took to get there, and I did it,” Belshe said. “I play the No. 1 seed at state, so I basically don’t have a chance of winning, but I am looking forward to the consolation bracket.”