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Brinson advances to semifinals

With an overhead smash and then a scream of “Yes,” Carson High senior Spencer Brinson realized cathartic sense of relief at the Northern 4A Championships in boys tennis on Friday at CHS.

After losing for three straight years in the quarterfinals, Brinson finally advanced to the semifinals at zone in singles with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 win over Reno High’s Kenny Stark in the quarterfinals.

While Brinson will be the only Senator competing for a berth in the NIAA 4A State Championships to be held next week at CHS, it was still an oustanding day for Carson, which also had two doubles teams advance to the quarterfinals. Jordan Rogers and Tyler Simms met expectations by reaching the quarterfinals in boys doubles while Elise Hansen and Hannah Dudley exceeded expecations, upsetting Reno High’s No. 2 seed High Desert League team on their way to the girls doubles quarterfinals.

The top three in singles and doubles advance to state and while Brinson certainly won’t be content until he earns that state berth, reaching the semifinals was still a satisfying moment.

“It’s the first time in four years,” Brinson said. “I’ve lost in the quarterfinals every year.”

Brinson rolled to a 6-1, 6-3 win in his second round match, but it looked like Stark was well on his way to stopping Brinson in the quarterfinals again when he jumped out to a 5-2 lead. The turning point came with Brinson down 2-4, 30-40 on his second serve.

Stark called the serve out ” a serve that Brinson felt hit the line ” giving Stark a 5-2 lead. It was the second time that Brinson felt his serve had hit the line, but was called out by Stark.

So Brinson asked for a line judge. The move seemed to rattle Stark, a freshman, as Brinson won four straight games for a 6-5 lead. While Stark held serve to force a tiebreaker, Brinson never really lost control of the match after he asked for the line judge.

Brinson, though, said there was no gamesmanship involved and that he wasn’t trying to slow down Stark’s momentum.

“I was fine with the pace and everything,” Brinson said. “I’m fine with keeping going and going and going.”

But Brinson did admit the line judge request worked to his advantage. “It definitely turned it around at that point,” Brinson said. “He started missing some and I started being a little more consistent.”

And another big factor was Brinson’s ability to bring Stark to the net, something that Stark doesn’t like to do. When Stark built his 5-2 lead, he was banging away from the baseline.

“He doesn’t really like it,” said Brinson about playing at the net. “He likes to stay back. He’s really consistent. He looks to move you around.”

By the end on match point, it was a satisfying moment or Brinson when he put away the overhead smash and yelled out “Yes.”

Brinson will face Manogue’s Phillip Hinojosa in today’s semifinals, with the winner advancing to the finals later today. In their first meeting, Hinojosa beat Brinson 6-3 in a hard-earned victory.

In the other semifinal, Reno’s Jeff Mullin will face Douglas High’s James TenBroeck, who pulled off an impressive straight set upset over McQueen’s Joey Saarem, 6-2, 6-4, in the quarterfinals to reach the semifinals.

Mullin is the overwhelming favorite to win the title with the losers of today’s semifinals playing in the third place match.

“To be able to come back from down 2-5 and then turn it around just shows you the competitor he is,” said Carson coach Kevin Fallon about Brinson.

Rogers and Simms rolled to 6-0, 6-0 and 6-4, 6-2 wins to advance to face the High Desert League’s No. 3 seed from Reno in the quarterfinals. Rogers and Simms led 6-5 in the first set before falling in a tiebreaker and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second set before losing 6-7 (4-7), 3-6.

“I felt pretty good about that,” said Fallon about Rogers and Simms advancing to the quarterfinals. “They should feel good.

“That’s a really good match they played. I was pleased with these guys. I thought they played their best match of the year.”

Dudley and Hansen rolled to a 6-0, 6-1 win and then stunned the Reno team 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3. Dundley and Hansen ended up losing in the quarterfinals to Manogue’s Brook Bernand and Whitney Saarem 3-6, 2-6.

Carson’s Bridjett Huish and Ali Collier also nearly made the quarterfinals. After winning 6-0, 6-1, they lost 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 4-6 in the round of 16.

Also for Carson in boys doubles, Jon Kane and Ricky Nugyen got off to a slow start against McQueen’s No. 1 doubles team, but went on to play a solid second set before losing 0-6, 4-6.

Douglas High sophomore Amelia Ritger continued to stay unbeaten in Northern Nevada in her career as she has yet to lose a game. She’s won all three of her matches 6-0, 6-0.

Ritger will play Reno’s Shelly Tone in the semifinals. Galena will be guaranteed a spot at state in girls singles ans Mica Olson and Hannah Llop will play in the other semifinal.

Galena will also be guaranteed a spot at state in girls doubles as Lindy Deller and Addie Potter, who will play Bernard and Saarem in one semifinal, while Grizzly teammates Emily McClintock and Leann Roggensack will play in the other semifinal.

The Grizzlies will also have a chance to advance to state in boys doubles as Jeff Harris and Joseph Prescott have advanced to the semifinals.

All of the semifinals and finals for the boys and girls doubles and singles will be held at CHS, beginning at 9 a.m.