By Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent 

Lenaway, Traut-Youngren reach league tennis finals

Seven Warriors qualify for CIF tournament


Last updated 5/10/2019 at 8:22pm

The top five singles players and the top five doubles teams at the Valley League tennis tournament, which took place April 23-25 at San Pasqual High School, qualified for the CIF individual tournament, which will take place May 13-17 on the Morley Field courts in San Diego, and the CIF qualifiers include three Fallbrook High School singles players and two Fallbrook doubles tandems.

“We had a great showing. I don’t think we’ve ever had seven guys to CIF before,” Fallbrook coach Bill Lenaway said. “I’m very pleased with the way everybody played.”

Seven Fallbrook players qualified for the 2016 CIF tournament. That contingent consisted of three doubles teams and one singles player, so this year’s total of five entries is the most since Lenaway became the Warriors’ head coach in 2009.

The only other year in which three Fallbrook singles players qualified for the CIF tournament in the same year was 2015.

“It’s still very rare,” Lenaway said.

Lenaway’s son, sophomore Ethan Lenaway, is one of the CIF singles qualifiers; Ethan Lenaway reached the championship match of the league tournament and took the league champion to three sets.

“I’m proud of myself, and I worked pretty hard to get there,” Lenaway said of reaching the finals. “The guys I played were good.”

Last year, when Lenaway was a freshman, he lost his only match in the league tournament.

Fallbrook also participated in the doubles final of the league tournament after sophomores Cole Traut and Nash Youngren won their first three matches.

“I kind of surprised myself. I didn’t expect to make it that far,” Traut said.

“It was a pretty good experience,” Youngren said.

“A couple of matches were hard work, but it was a lot of fun,” Traut said.

Fallbrook senior Noah Potraz took third place in the league singles tournament, and senior Richard Herrera won two consolation matches for fifth place. Fourth place in the doubles division was obtained by junior Anthony Vazquez and sophomore Chase Che.

“Just to get there is awesome for them,” Bill Lenaway said of Fallbrook’s CIF qualifiers.

During dual meets, each of a school’s three singles players and potentially including substitutes has a set against each of the other team’s singles players while the three doubles teams for each school also play all opponents. The league meet allows four singles players and four doubles teams from each school, so some junior varsity players obtain their varsity debuts at the league tournament. If some teams do not have 12 players other schools can have additional entries. Fallbrook had 12 players in this year’s program and thus fielded four singles entries and four doubles teams in the league tournament.

The league tournament had 20 singles players and 20 doubles entries, so 12 singles players including all four of Fallbrook’s singles competitors and 12 doubles teams had first-round byes. The first-round doubles players included Fallbrook freshmen James Smith and Daniel Winton, who lost a 6-3, 6-1 match to their Escondido High School counterparts.

Fallbrook’s fourth singles player was senior Brian Medina, whose only match in the league tournament was a 6-0, 6-0 loss to top seed and eventual league singles champion Lukas Chalker, who is a San Pasqual High School junior. The Fallbrook doubles team of freshmen Julian Cardenas and Angel Leon began with a round of 16 match against Ramona High School seniors Trevor Hidalgo and Hayden Guenther; the eighth-seeded Ramona players defeated Cardenas and Leon in 6-3 and 6-2 sets.

The round of 16 doubles matches also included Traut and Youngren winning a 6-0, 6-0 match against a Ramona duo while Vazquez and Che won a pair of 6-1 sets against their San Pasqual counterparts. Traut and Youngren had the second seed in the doubles tournament. Vazquez and Che were seeded third.

Ethan Lenaway had the third singles seed, Potraz was seeded fourth and Herrera was given the seventh seed. Lenaway’s round of 16 match was a 6-3, 6-1 triumph against a Ramona opponent. Potraz defeated his San Pasqual counterpart in 6-0 and 6-1 sets. Herrera prevailed in 6-1 and 6-0 sets against a Ramona player.

All quarterfinals winners qualify for the CIF tournament while the four quarterfinals losers play consolation matches to determine the fifth place qualifier and thus need to win two matches after their loss to reach the CIF tournament. Herrera’s quarterfinals opponent was second-seeded Djordje Banovic of San Pasqual, whose 6-1, 6-3 victory sent Herrera to the consolation brackets.

Lenaway advanced to the semifinals by winning a pair of 6-1 sets against his San Pasqual opponent. Potraz defeated Escondido senior Milan Bujosevic, who was the fifth seed, in a 6-2, 6-4 match.

The quarterfinal match for Traut and Youngren was against seventh-seeded Nikola Raicevic and Oskari Vakki of San Pasqual, who fell to Traut and Youngren in a 6-3, 6-4 contest.

“Then we had to play against our own team,” Youngren said.

Vazquez and Che faced Ramona seniors Erik Chavarin and Hunter Mackenzie, who would eventually obtain the fifth doubles position after being sent to the consolation brackets with a 6-2, 6-2 Vazquez and Che win.

Traut and Youngren faced Vazquez and Che in one of the doubles semifinal matches. The first set was tied at six games apiece, triggering a tie-breaking game to seven points. Traut and Youngren won the tiebreaker by a 7-4 score to capture the first set. Vazquez and Che responded with a 6-4 triumph in the second set. A 6-4 win in the third set advanced Traut and Youngren to the final.

“That was pretty good for us,” Youngren said.

The other doubles semifinal was between top-seeded San Pasqual seniors Mykal Pino-Parzanese and Trevor Van Houten and the fourth-seeded Ramona team of senior Cody Crenshaw and junior Boyd Siebert. Pino-Parzanese and Van Houten secured a 6-1, 6-1 victory to advance to the final and send Crenshaw and Siebert to the third-place match.

Potraz faced Chalker in one singles semifinal; Chalker won 6-3 and 6-0 sets. Lenaway prevailed over Banovic in a three-set match. Lenaway won the 6-3 first set, Banovic evened the match with a 6-2 triumph in the second set and Lenaway settled the match in his favor with a 6-2 win in the third set.

Potraz won the third-place match against Banovic by a 6-3, 6-4 score. The third-place doubles match required three sets. Vazquez and Che began with a 6-3 victory, but Siebert and Boyd won 7-5 and 6-4 sets.

Pino-Parzanese and Van Houten won the doubles championship with a 6-0, 6-0 triumph over Traut and Youngren.

“The other team played very well,” Traut said.

“We didn’t get first, but we played pretty good,” Youngren said.

“Nash played very good throughout it,” Traut said.

“It’s pretty amazing that them being first-year players that they can play together and get second place in league as sophomores,” Bill Lenaway said.

Traut’s father, Lee, played tennis at Fallbrook High School before he graduated in 1987. Gwen Traut, who is Cole Traut’s mother, was Gwen Clark when she was Fallbrook High School’s girls tennis coach before her son was born. Cole Traut played lacrosse only as a freshman but added tennis as a sophomore.

“I felt like playing it,” he said.

Traut had taken some tennis lessons in his early childhood but had never played a match before the 2019 high school season, which constituted the first time he had picked up a racket since he was 4 years old.

Lacrosse is also a spring sport, so Traut played both tennis and lacrosse during the season.

“It’s fun. It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy it,” he said.

Traut is a defender on the Warriors' lacrosse team, which gave him some concept of defensive skills when facing a tennis opponent’s serve or return.

Youngren is also on Fallbrook's cross country and soccer teams. Both of his parents are 1989 Fallbrook High School graduates. His father, Scott, played tennis for the Warriors. His mother, Jennifer, participated in cheer and dance at Fallbrook High School.

“I think next year we’ll have a really good shot,” Youngren said.

Chalker won the first set of the singles final by a 6-3 margin. Ethan Lenaway forced a third set with a 6-2 victory.

“No one in the league has won a set against him. I’m the only one,” Lenaway said.

Chalker prevailed in the deciding third set which had a 6-4 score.

“It was a tight match all the way through,” Bill Lenaway said.

“There’s always next year to beat him,” Ethan Lenaway said.

“I’m very proud of him as a coach and a dad,” Bill Lenaway said.

“He showed a lot of grit,” Bill Lenaway said of his son. “He doesn’t back down. He played as hard as he can.”

Unless postponed due to weather or other conditions, the first two singles rounds of the CIF individual tournament will be played May 13, and the first two doubles rounds will be contested May 14.


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