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Jaden Ventura, Alex Rurik will play in CIF Central Section Valley playoffs

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Jaden Ventura, ’18, hits the ball during a scrimmage at practice.

Senior Jaden Ventura and junior Alexander Rurik took first place in the WSL Individual Doubles Championship at Copper River Country Club, defeating Firebaugh in two sets, April 24.

After defeating Riverdale High School, 8-2, in the second round, Rurik and Ventura were set to play Fowler in the semifinals. As the No. 2 seed, the duo held a first round bye. After quickly falling, 1-5, in the first set to six, the duo found their rhythm and brought the first set close, eventually falling, 4-6. The second set however, moved closer to FC winning, 6-2, which lead to a super tie breaker.

The tie breaker was not close, however; FC won 10-1, earning a spot in the finals against Firebaugh High School. After a close first set where FC won, 6-4, the second set moved faster as Rurik and Ventura found their groove. The duo took the match,  6-1, second set, winning the championship.

Head coach Robert Foshee acknowledged the effort Rurik and Ventura put in during the off season.

“Watching Jaden Ventura and Alex Rurik compete in doubles in the league championship was awesome,” Foshee said. “They had to fight through a tough three-set victory in the semifinals but pulled it out and dominated in the finals. The time they put into the offseason is really paying off for both of them. Now they’ve both qualified for the Valley Individual tennis tournament, alongside fellow qualifiers John Monke in singles and Mark Pimentel and Braden Bell in doubles.”

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Alex Rurik, ’19, placed second in last year’s doubles tournament and first in this year’s tournament.

This was Rurik and Ventura’s second time playing for the WSL Individual Doubles Championship. Last April, they actually played against one another. Both players had different partners. Rurik teamed up with fellow junior Reese Brown and played against Ventura and (now alumnus) Jarrod Markarian, ’17, in the finals. It was an all FC 2017 final as Ventura/Markarian defeated Rurik/Brown.

Falling just short in last year’s championship round, Rurik spent the offseason preparing for this match.

“I think it is pretty funny Jaden beat me in the same tournament championship last year,” Rurik said. “We were down in the first set against Fowler, but I don’t think we were ever really worried. We knew what we had to do and trusted in each other to do what we needed to do. It was a great tournament and I’m super proud of the way Jaden played, especially coming in clutch with his serve. Props to John Monke for coming in fourth and the other doubles team for taking sixth.”

Having won the previous tournament, Ventura focused on finishing out his senior year with a victory.

“I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to play alongside Alex in the tournament this year, rather than against him,” Ventura said. We won the first game with relative ease, but it wasn’t until the second set against Fowler that Alex and I really began playing in sync. We went into the last game knowing we would have to fight for every point. We trusted each other with every shot, and Alex’s forehands were the best I’d ever seen from him. All in all, it was a very enjoyable tournament!”

Assistant tennis coach Daniel “Bulldog” Jessing has thoroughly enjoyed helping out this year. He loves challenging the players to be the best they can be.

“It was awesome,” Jessing said. “They started off a little slow, they had a hard semifinal match, losing the first set, but they battled back and really focused on winning the championship round, and they made it happen. They actually won a lot easier in the championship round than in the finals. They took care of business and it was awesome to see.”

Junior Reese Brown, the tennis team’s No. 3, enjoyed watching both doubles teams.

“It was really cool getting to watch both of our doubles teams qualify for Valleys,” Brown said. “It was awesome that our second doubles was able to compete and even beat some of the first doubles from other schools. Getting to see Alex and Jaden win first place after a great day of tennis just made the day that much better.”

FC’s other doubles team, Mark Pimentel, ’21, and Braden Bell, ’20, placed sixth in the tournament. Junior John Monke placed fourth in the WSL individual singles tournament a day earlier. The FC tennis schedule and scores are updated on a regular basis on

The duo of Ventura/Rurik will go on to play in the CIF Central Section Valley Championships, starting May 11 at Immanuel High School. However, seedings, opponent and time will only be announced, May 7. FC will also have one individuals player advancing in that tournament. Junior John Monke will play in the singles CIF Central Valley tournament. He will also play on May 11 in Immanuel. Seeding, opponent and times will be made available May 7. Visit the 2018 CIF Central Section Boys Tennis Team and Individual Tournaments website for more information, upcoming matches and locations.

The boys tennis team next hosts Firebaugh, April 27. The winner will be West Sequoia League team champions. So be sure to come out to the campus tennis courts to cheer on the boys, starting at 3:30 p.m. 

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Slideshow below includes images from the WSL Individual Doubles Championship.

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