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Tennis returns to state field

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com
Lady Wave doubles players Izzy Martinez, left, and Melanie Nuckolls practice on Tuesday. The pair compete in today's state tournament in Truckee.
Steve Puterski / sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com | LVN

It has been an euphoric ride for the Fallon tennis teams.

The Lady Wave doubles team of Debra Beyer and Kali Strong won the Northern Division I-A title last week and enter today’s DI-A state tournament at the Tahoe Donner Tennis Center in Truckee as the No. 1 seed.

In addition, the Lady Wave also struck state gold when Melanie Nuckolls and Izzy Martinez took third in the regional to qualify for state. Nuckolls and Martinez are making their first appearance in the state tournament as is boys singles player Adam Wadsworth, who placed fourth at the regional.

But the familiar faces and cornerstones of Fallon tennis belong to Tyler Wood and Martin Beyer. The tandem qualified for their third straight state tournament against an old nemesis.

Beyer and Wood, the No. 7 seed, take on a familiar foe in Chaitanya Ingle of Clark, who along with former partner Deric Pang, beat the Fallon tandem two years running in the first round of state en route to winning the title each season.

Now, Ingle’s partner is Marcus Pasimio and looking for a third straight championship, but Wood and Beyer are determined to finally get a win.

“We are hoping on the weather and the higher elevation in Truckee to throw the Vegas kids off,” Wood said. “I think we’ve improved enough to where we can hang with them better than we have (in the past).”

The south’s dominance, though, has been overwhelming the past two years since the major realignment rubric was introduced. No northern team or individual has won a state title in that span.

Nevertheless, Wood and Beyer are focused on the challenge ahead and aim to advance.

“We have to stay confident,” Beyer said.

“We have to keep our head in the game, even if they win the first set,” Wood added.

Debra Beyer and Kali Strong, meanwhile, are the No. 1 seed and meet eighth-seeded Talia Graf (no relation to Steffi Graf) and Kristina Berg of Faith Lutheran.

Coming off their dominant regional performance, the Fallon duo is flying blind about their knowledge of the competition, but it works both ways.

Still, the two realize the tough challenge ahead and are focused on perfecting their serves and playing within themselves.

“I’m thinking we have an idea of what it will be like,” Strong said.

“I’m sure those matches will be just as intense as the one we just had (on Saturday),” Beyer added.

Nuckolls and Martinez, the fifth seed, square off against Olivia Waysack and Audrey Grigore of The Meadows. Should the two Fallon doubles teams win their opening matches, they would meet in the semifinals on Saturday.

“We just want to play good and try our hardest,” Nuckolls said.

Wadsworth, the No. 7 seed, takes on second-seeded Michael Pasimio of Clark. Wadsworth is coming off a solid regional performance and aims to pull off the upset.

“I’m just going to go in there and play the best that I can and have fun,” he said.

On Thursday, the Lady Wave battled Faith Lutheran in the first round of the team competition at the Reno Tennis Center.