The championship matches may not have gone the Sehome boys’ tennis team’s way, but the end result was the third Class 2A state title in program history on Saturday, May 28, at the Nordstrom Tennis Center in Seattle.
Max Shmotolokha advanced to the singles championship match with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Renton’s Oscar Cruz, and Reece Gilbert and Shane Lynette beat Lindbergh’s Donovan Dang and Patrick Tiamzon 6-3, 7-5 in the their doubles semifinal, and that was enough to land the Mariners their first team title in six years.
With just two entries, Sehome scored 20 points to beat out Liberty’s 17 and Shorecrest’s 13 to claim the championship.
“The current group (of seniors) hadn’t won a state title yet,” Sehome coach Bonna Giller said. “Their goal all along was a to win a state title. It took a lot of good tennis for that to happen. I’m so happy for these guys, because it’s something they set out to do.”
After placing sixth at state last year, Shmotolokha made it past the semifinal round this year, becoming the first Sehome boys’ player to advance to a singles state championship match since Avery West in 2013.
Unfortunately, Shmotolokha could not claim the title, like West did, as he fell 6-0, 6-0 to Tumwater’s three-time state champion Ty Gentry — coincidentally the same player West faced in the 2013 final, though he played for Capital at the time.
“The first thing Max told me last fall was that he was not only going to state, but that he was going to play in the championship final against Ty Gentry,” Giller said. “He knew full well how good Ty is, but he told me he wasn’t going to make things easy on him. He didn’t. He made him work for every point. Max was proud of the way he played, and he should be.”
Doubles battles in title match
Like Shmotolokha, Gilbert and Lynette ran into a player with championship experience in the title match, as they played Shorecrest’s Daniel Wacker and Faiz Khan. Wacker, who was then playing with Nick North, won last year’s state title.
His experience paid off Saturday, as he and Khan were able to hand Gilbert and Lynette a 7-6, 6-3 loss, after the Sehome duo jumped out to a 5-3 led in the first set.
“They had to battle to get in against Shorecrest,” Giller said. “It was the same guys they faced for the district title last fall. Reece and Shane were a lot stronger than they were six-seven months ago. ... I think it was one of the better matches they ever played.”
Whatcom County team champions
Class 2A Boys’ tennis state tournament singles results
Round: Opponent (School)
Semi: Oscar Cruz (Renton)
Final: Ty Gentry (Tumwater)
W 6-2, 6-0
L 6-0, 6-0
Class 2A Boys’ tennis state tournament doubles results
Round: Opponents (School)
Reece Gilbert/Shane Lynette
Semi: Donovan Dang/Patrick Tiamzon (Lindbergh)
Final: Daniel Wacker/Faiz Khan (Shorecrest)
W 6-3, 7-5
L 7-6, 6-3