Bremerton duo ousted at districts

Bremerton’s Paul Donovan (left) and Trace Jordan put up a good fight at the 3A West Central District III boys tennis tourney Tuesday at Sprinker Recreation Center in Tacoma. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Bremerton’s Paul Donovan (left) and Trace Jordan put up a good fight at the 3A West Central District III boys tennis tourney Tuesday at Sprinker Recreation Center in Tacoma.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

TACOMA — Time simply wasn’t on Trace Jordan and Paul Donovan’s side.

The Bremerton senior doubles duo earned a berth to this week’s 3A West Central District boys tennis tournament with a surprising victory at the Olympic League tournament. But with Donovan and Jordan both active in other sports, the pairing only had about two weeks to prep for the toughest tournament they’ve competed in.

“It’s just getting used to any different sport,” Donovan said. “Like soccer. You don’t even use your hands. There’s no comparison. We were in shape, we just needed more playing time.”

Jordan and Donovan earned the league’s top seed to districts when they knocked off Olympic’s Jace Caulkins and Scott Lutz. They also topped Peninsula’s top doubles team in the process.

“It was fun,” BHs coach Jeremy Monroe said of the wins. “It was totally fun for them to be the No. 1 seed from the Olympic League.”

But that couldn’t help the pairing overcome the lag in between October’s league tourney and Tuesday’s districts.

They fell 6-1, 6-3 to Hazen’s Andy Zorich and David Rittenhouse in the opening round before falling 6-2, 6-2 to Aaron Flores and Sean Yannello of Lakes.

And while the time off hurt, there’s another factor Monroe said plays in.

“That’s no excuse,” Monroe said of the time in between. “Most schools are doing the same thing. My guys jut don’t play tennis out of tennis season. But they had a good run. But at this level, tennis has got to be your sport.”

Donovan, who served as the football team’s kicker during the fall and also played soccer this spring, wasn’t helped in a mountain biking incident in the days leading up to the tournament.

“It was pretty fun up until I crashed,” he said of his venture. “I kind of hurt my knee pretty bad.”

But he said that was certainly not the reason the team struggled at districts.

“It wasn’t the injury,” Donovan said. “That was just rust. We haven’t played in four months.”

In addition to tennis, Jordan was a key part of the school’s basketball and baseball teams. But by far, he said transitioning to tennis is most difficult.

“Definitely. Especially with me and baseball,” Jordan said. “It’s all about how hard you hit it and how far it goes. Tennis is harder.”

But considering the team only plays in the high school season, both were proud of their accomplishment.

“For us to even come here, to compete with these guys, it’s like another level,” Jordan said. “I had a good time at districts. We didn’t want to end it right there at league. To make it this far is cool.”

“It felt really good. We were playing insane,” Donovan said of leagues. “If districts were a little closer to leagues, we probably would have done better.”

But like Jordan, he was happy for multiple reasons.

“Yeah, we got to represent our school,” Donovan said. “And we don’t have to go to school today. So we’ve got to proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

That was one reaction Monroe predicted regardless of performance.

“I love it. And they got to miss school for the day to play some tennis,” he said, adding that they’ll both be missed next season. “They’re just good guys. They’re just athletes. They’re coachable, good kids.”

The girls season came to a close at the Oly League meet last week, with Bremerton earning the alternate spot for girls doubles thanks to a strong performance from Kendal Mantzke and Courtney Wasserburger.

“It was alright,” Monroe said of the girls season. “The same situation.”

Monroe meant that in both the boys and girls programs, neither have players that compete in club tennis year round. He said that factor alone tends to limit the team’s potential, considering most teams have club players that play year round.

“These days, it doesn’t matter what sport, the kids all specialize now,” he said. “But it’s good. And the majority of the team will be back. And they’ll do better.”

With Bremerton’s tennis season now over, Jordan said it’s been a senior season he’ll always remember.

“Oh yeah, it was a great athletic season for me,” he said. “It’s a good way to end my high school career at Bremerton.”

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