Sun, Dec. 15

4A II Boys tennis State Tournament
Mingus best ever overall at State

VVN/Wendy Phillippe
(L-r) Mingus boys tennis team: Layton Dickerson, Tanner Walz, Alex Lineberry, Paul Paradise, Jesse Salterberg, Brian Thieme and Jeff Pottorff.

VVN/Wendy Phillippe (L-r) Mingus boys tennis team: Layton Dickerson, Tanner Walz, Alex Lineberry, Paul Paradise, Jesse Salterberg, Brian Thieme and Jeff Pottorff.

For the first time, the Mingus boys tennis team placed in all three categories at the State Championships. Mingus earned a second place in singles, third in doubles and tied for third in the team competition. In previous years Mingus placed in doubles and team but this was a first for a singles medal.

Alex Lineberry, this year's 2008 Grand Canyon Region Singles Champion played for the State Championship in singles against the 2006 State Champ and undefeated Arcadia No. 1. It was truly the match of the day as the top two players in the state played intense games and impressive points. Alex reached the finals after solid straight stet wins in his previous rounds.

It was the first time the two had ever played and the Arcadia senior was just a little better than the Mingus sophomore. Lineberry actually had a stronger game but had too many errors against a more defensive player. Lineberry needed his best game to win but barely missed shots that would normally have been winners. Lineberry looks to be the player to beat in next year's battle for the top player in the state. It is the best finish for a Mingus player since 1997.

In doubles, Brian Thieme and Thanat Khamlua, 2008 Grand Canyon Region Doubles Champions faced the eventual State Champion and came up short in a tough match against Notre Dame. Thieme and Khamlua didn't play their best but fought hard and were in it until the last point. IN the final round they easily won third place by a score of 6-0, 6-2 against an undefeated and last year's 3A State Champion team from Sahuarita.

Notre Dame's No. 1 player opted out of singles and decided to settle for a shot at doubles. It made it a little tougher for Mingus' No. 2 and No. 3 players but they played a great match before losing 6-4, 6-4. It was the third year Thieme faced the eventual State Champion in the semifinal match and the third time Thieme has won third place at State, which is a school record. All three matches were very close and could have gone in Mingus' favor.

In the team competition, Mingus was unfortunately matched against Arcadia, the No. 1 and undefeated team in the state. The match could have been for the State Title as Mingus nearly upset the 2008 top seed, 5-4.

On a beautiful day at the Tucson Racquet Club, the NO. 4 ranked Mingus team started out huge against the No. 1 team in the state. Lineberry and Paul Paradise quickly beat the No. 1 Arcadia team by a convincing score of 8-3. Thieme and Khamlua followed with an even more impressive victory at the No. 2 spot with a huge 8-1 win. At No. 3 Jeff Pottorff and Layton Dickerson came back from a 1-4 deficit and tied the match at 4-4. However, they lost four close games and ended 4-8 against a very talented Arcadia duo.

Going into singles with a 2-0 lead, it looked as though Mingus might pull off the upset. Arcadia won the No. 5 singles against Dickerson, but Thieme and Khamlua won convincingly in straight sets. Mingus only needed to win one of the remaining three individual matches.

Jesse Salterberg had a shot at it after splitting sets against the No. 6 player. However, in a hard-fought third set, he came up short. At the No. 4 spot, Paul Paradise dropped his first set, but fought back to win the second. In the third set the two players battled hard in a nearly perfectly even matched set. At 5-5, Arcadia held serve. Paradise served at 5-6 and tried to extend the match to a deciding tiebreaker. He took the game to deuce twice before losing.

In the final match, Lineberry was pitted against the only player to have beaten him during the entire year. Playing against the same player who beat him for the State Championship just two days earlier, Lineberry played much better but still came up short. It was an unfortunate match up for the Marauder team. Out of the remaining teams battling for the State title, Lineberry had easily beaten the other teams' No. 1 players in straight sets by lopsided scores.

Mingus' effort was admirable as the Marauder team ended up tied for third place in the State. It was an incredible season for the tennis players who worked hard all season.

"Thanks to all of the great fans who supported the Marauders in their historic run at the 2008 State Championships and successful season," said coach Jeff Knight.

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