Sports

Tennis: Wind provides no reprieve for Wolves at state

The Class 4A state tennis championships tend to rotate around the state.

That is welcomed news for South Kitsap junior Kailyn Skjonsby.

Skjonsby did not care for the playing conditions last weekend in the singles bracket at Richland High School, where she won one match.

"It was kind of challenging because the conditions were tough," she said. "It was hard to adapt and play my best."Coach Todd Olson said gusts reached 50 mph.

"It is sad to see how conditions affect the outcome of the biggest tournament of the year and not being able to play all rounds indoors where we can actually determine who is the better player," he said.

Skjonsby lost 6-1, 6-3, against Kamiak's Sally Park in the first round.

"It was extremely windy," Skjonsby said. "It moved the ball around so much. It definitely took me out of my mindset."

She recovered to defeat Olympia's Gemma Robinson 6-3, 6-0, in the consolation quarterfinals, but Skjonsby said the wind was "even worse" during that match, which forced her to make adjustments.

"Instead of hitting the ball for topspin, I went for slices where the ball wouldn't move as much," she said.

Skjonsby, the 4A Narrows League singles champion, said that is not her preferred style of play. She said it prevented her from playing to her strengths, which she believes resulted in a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 setback against Marysville-Pilchuck's Sarah Tuemmler in the consolation quarterfinals.

"It was tough," Skjonsby said. "I felt confident when I went into it. When I got out there, (the wind) changed everything."

Despite that, Skjonsby said she accomplished her goal of improving from last year by earning her first state win. Through preparation this summer in United States Tennis Association tournaments, Skjonsby is hopeful that she can perform even better next year.

Or at least not be bothered by less than ideal conditions.

"I know how to play in wind now," Skjonsby said. "It's all matches and experience that builds onto itself."

Olson agreed.

"Kailyn is so positive and such a hard worker she did everything possible in the conditions that she was faced with and came up a little short," he said. "I know she feels like she was a little robbed looking back, but she will learn from this and come back an even stronger player next year."

Skjonsby was joined at state by teammate Dakota Giddings, who also won the 4A Narrows League singles title this year. Giddings lost 6-0, 6-0, against Eastlake's Vincente Veras in the first round. He then was eliminated by Stanwood's Gergo Muller 6-2, 6-4, in the consolation quarterfinals.

"Dakota had a rough go of the conditions and was not able to adapt his game for the wind," Olson said. "(He) got really frustrated andcame up short in both of his matches."

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