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Tennis tournament branches out

Fri., April 29, 2011

This year’s 66th Inland Empire Tennis Tournament will be the largest in its history. But individual brackets won’t necessarily be as full as in years past.

“We’ve added two events,” tourney coordinator Bill Wagstaff explained, bringing the total to 12.

This year, for the first time, there will be No. 3 boys and girls doubles competitions.

“I did it with the idea of bringing in more full varsities,” said Wagstaff, boys coach at Mead.

Forty-five schools, bringing a total of 665 boys and girls, will participate in the two-day tourney which begins today – weather cooperating – at 11 different locations throughout the Spokane area.

The event concludes Saturday at Mead with 8:30 a.m. semifinals and 11:30 – or as courts become available – finals. Consolation finals are at Mt. Spokane High.

Among the favored teams (with combined boys and girls scoring) is Wenatchee, with top-seeded players Hudson Barnhart in No. 1 singles and Clint Vidano and Nick Mandelis in No. 1 doubles.

“They are the big guns in Eastern Washington,” Wagstaff said of the Panthers.

Gonzaga Prep, with state veteran Alex Marcinkowski in the loaded No. 1 boys singles, is a team to watch. Mead’s Katijene Stime is top seed in No. 1 girls singles, and teammates Elise Ellingsen and Chelsea Motzer are favored in No. 1 doubles.

Central Valley brother and sister Peter and Leslie Ho are paired in No. 1 mixed doubles.

Mike Vlahovich

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