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Wilson, Skaja/Kendall, Mathewson/Manion play in CIF tournament

Fallbrook High School senior Anthony Wilson, the doubles tandem of junior Connor Skaja and sophomore Micah Kendall and doubles partners sophomore Billy Mathewson and freshman Casey Manion competed at the CIF individual tournament Monday, April 29, through Saturday, May 4, at the Balboa Tennis Club in San Diego.

All three Fallbrook entries were defeated in the first round. Wilson played his singles match April 29, and the two doubles teams competed Tuesday, April 30.

Fallbrook was in the Valley League for 2024. All semifinalists in the league tournament qualified for the CIF tournament, and a backdraw with the quarterfinals losers determined the fifth-place singles and doubles players who would continue their season at the CIF competition. None of Fallbrook’s athletes qualified for the 2023 CIF tournament, and the only 2022 Fallbrook competitor in the CIF tournament, Porter Niccum, was on the City College men’s tennis team in 2023 and 2024 so all five of this year’s Fallbrook players made their CIF tournament debuts.

“I was very happy to have made it to the CIF tournament,” Wilson said. “I was very happy I managed to make it my last year into this amazing competition.”

“I’m glad I made it,” Mathewson said.

“I’m just happy to be here,” Manion said. “I think it was a very good experience.”

Wilson placed second in this year’s Valley League tournament which was held April 22-23, at San Pasqual High School. Carlsbad sophomore Jake Eddington, who was Wilson’s first-round opponent at the CIF tournament, took third in the Avocado League tournament. Eddington won a pair of 6-0 sets against Wilson.

“I’m actually pretty happy with the results. The opponent was pretty difficult, but I think I played pretty well today,” Wilson said.

Skaja and Kendall qualified for the CIF tournament by placing second in the Valley League competition. They played the Rancho Bernardo duo of junior Aditya Patil and sophomore Tristan Beeby, who lost in the Palomar League semifinals as that league did not have a third-place match to determine third and fourth place. The Rancho Bernardo players followed a 6-2 win in the first set with a 7-5 victory in the second set.

“We should have made it closer,” Skaja said. “We should have won the second set. I could have played better.”

Sakja and Kendall had a 4-3 lead in the second set before the Rancho Bernardo players won the next two games.

“It went pretty good,” Kendall said.

“They fought hard in the second set,” Fallbrook coach Bill Lenaway said. “I’m pleased with the way they played.”

Skaja and Kendall played singles during the season’s dual matches but played doubles in the league tournament. Patil and Beeby were doubles partners throughout the year.

“They’re definitely a lot more together. They talk to each other more,” Kendall said.

The experience in the CIF tournament will prepare the Fallbrook players for 2025.

“That will be great,” Skaja said.

Mathewson and Manion won the Valley League backdraw for the fifth-place berth in the CIF tournament. Clairemont High School seniors Haris Ali and Johnny Nguyen won the Eastern League backdraw and began CIF tournament play with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Mathewson and Manion.

“I tried my best. I did all I could. But in the end, they won,” Mathewson said.

“They did the best they could. They’re both very inexperienced players, and the fact they’re here is a victory,” Lenaway said.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001


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