Two Greenwave doubles teams traveled to Las Vegas on Thursday for the 3A State Tennis Tournament at Darling Tennis Center.
Both teams, Myles Getto and Blake Malkovich as well as Brynlee Shults and Brooklyn Whitaker, stand as the No. 2 teams in the north. Quarterfinals start today at 4 p.m., for the girls, and 6 p.m. for the boys.
Shults/Whitaker will play Veronica Palacios and Yazaret Arredondo of Desert Pines while Getto/Malkovich take on Justin Finset and Ben Goodman from The Meadows. The winners play the winner of a match between the No. 1 and No. 5 seeds during Saturday’s semifinals.
“No. 2 for Northern Nevada, it’s excellent,” said girls’ coach Kristy Bekiares. “That first spot, there’s some good competition when you’re getting up that high.”
Shults and Whitaker said they’re both “super excited” for this opportunity. Whitaker went to state last year for the team competition, and this is Shults’ first season playing tennis.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Shults said. “I’m super stoked to have made it this far. I didn’t expect at the start of this season to even make it to regionals.”
Whitaker said she’s excited for the opportunity to go to Vegas. She added she’s nervous, though, since the southern teams are good, though Shults said she’s excited to play the unfamiliar teams.
Both players said they are ready. Whitaker said there wasn’t anything they needed to work on that couldn’t be addressed in practices.
“Coach John said ‘just play tennis; don’t be nervous, just do your thing,’” Whitaker said. “I don’t know how we’ll do, but we’ll get out there and do our best.”
“We’re looking to make it as far as we can without letting ourselves get down if we don’t make it as far as we want,” Shults added.
The pair has enjoyed playing doubles together. Shults said she was nervous at first, since she didn’t know Whitaker.
“We balance each other out when we need to,” Shults said.
Bakiares said she’s proud of Shults and Whitaker for making it to state. Bakiares said the team had some difficulty gaining momentum during the final matches of regionals and is hoping they hit state strong and can end successfully. She said Las Vegas’ schools play at a different level, with a bigger pool of students to draw from and a variety of courts that are open almost constantly.
“I just hope that we can be competitive with the teams down there,” Bekiares said. “Even if we get defeated, coming out feeling good about it; that’s what really matters, and the experience.”
Getto said it’s been a great season playing with Malkovich. He recalled they were friends before tennis and decided to have fun and play together for his senior year.
“I decided since it’s my senior year I want to have fun,” Getto said. “I don’t really enjoy singles very much, so I decided I’d make it a good last year with a friend.”
Getto added he’s nervous about the competition because of how strong The Meadows’ team is. He said nobody has been able to beat them in team competition since they joined the division.
“I’m excited to go, I think we’ll do good, but we’re going to have a challenge ahead of us,” he said.
Malkovich added it will be difficult, but said they’ll see how it goes and have fun.
Boys’ coach Jesse Nuckles said Getto and Malkovich have played well all season, having only lost a handful of matches, largely to Truckee.
“That team’s been undefeated all year long,” Nuckles said. “I still think our doubles team is capable of beating them, we just haven’t done it yet.”
He added the Fallon doubles team is a great pair who he feels has a good chance of winning matches in Vegas, though they could expect hard competition; he said it’ll be fun and a good experience, and is looking forward to seeing what happens.
This week, they’ve been reviewing everything and working on strategies to use in Las Vegas. Nuckles said they aren’t planning to stray too far from their usual game, though, to avoid throwing off their play.
“I’m not going to change a lot, because they’ve already made it to state; I don’t want to tweak too much,” he said. “We don’t want to mess up their rhythm.”