There was going to be only one chance for Claudia Dominguez to win a state championship, and she and partner Devon Austin-Canning made the most of it.
Dominguez, an exchange student from Spain’s Basque region, teamed with fellow junior Austin-Canning to post an unbeaten record in girls doubles heading into state.
Though they dropped a rare set in Saturday’s semifinals, they won a championship with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Idaho Falls’ Madi and Jordan Wright at the Boas Tennis Complex.
“I didn’t expect this at all. I’d never played doubles before. We won our first match together and just kept going. It’s been amazing, the best ending,” Dominguez said
Next week, Dominguez’s family will visit Idaho, eager to see the place she has spent the past year. Then she heads back to Spain.
“Can’t you just stay another year?” Austin-Canning pleaded.
Dominguez has been hosted this year by Jane and Rick Wold, who have relished the presence of the bubbly, pint-sized Spaniard. Celebrating her victory was bittersweet. “We don’t want to let her go,” Jane said, sporting a Timberline sweatshirt with Dominguez’s name on the back.
Even if it was for one year, the duo found quite a bond. Austin-Canning had initially planned to be the Wolves’ No. 1 singles player, but a back injury slowed her down, so the two were asked to try to play doubles together. Suffice it to say, it was meant to be.
“We just love each other, don’t get mad at each other, because if there’s a bad shot, it’s our shot,” Austin-Canning said. “We trusted each other from the beginning.”
Dominguez and Austin-Canning’s win helped propel Timberline to the girls team title, edging Eagle. Boise won the boys title, topping Eagle. The Braves had two second-place finishes (boys and mixed doubles) and took third and fourth in boys singles.
EAGLE SWEEPS BOYS, GIRLS TITLES
Eagle’s Adam Tzeng and Skylar Schossberger did not lose a set all season, and that held through state, though both were tested en route to their boys and girls singles titles.
Tzeng had two 6-0, 6-0 wins to reach the finals against Nampa’s Kyle Gonelli, whose consistent play kept Tzeng working hard for the title. Tzeng, a sophomore, won a boys doubles title last year with his brother Andrew. He added the singles crown Saturday, 6-3, 6-2, winning the final five games in the second set for the win.
“He really gave me a challenge, probably the toughest I had this year,” Tzeng said. “I had to buckle down and focus. It’ll be something I’ll always remember.”
Schossberger battled Centennial’s Ellie Gamble in the semifinals, winning 7-6 (1), 6-1, before facing Borah sophomore Sydnie Binder. Schossberger rolled out to a 5-0 lead in the first set and 3-0 lead in the second before Binder fough back. The Eagle senior, like Tzeng, buckled down and held off the rally for the 6-2, 6-2 win. It was the first singles title for Schossberger, who won the girls doubles title last year.
“Competition was fierce,” Schossberger said. “They made me earn it. (Binder) is going to win a state title, but I had to make sure it wasn’t going to be today.”
TIMBERLINE WINS MIXED DOUBLES
Timberline got another doubles win from Brooke Hadley and Spencer Ashworth. Hadley and Austin-Canning took third last year in girls doubles, but this year, she teamed with fellow senior Ashworth.
In Saturday’s semifinals, they took out top-seeded Garret Katayama and Ella Samer of Boise, then faced another Boise duo in Mac Inch and Kayla Hurst, taking the title 6-2, 6-3.
“We just wanted to go out have fun, enjoy this season,” Hadley said. “Spencer is great, we clicked right away. What a way to go out.”
The only non-District Three champions at the 5A tournament were Hillcrest’s boys doubles team of Kyler Hartman and Spencer Neville, who topped Boise’s Eric Lim and Grant Hilde 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
BISHOP KELLY DEFENDS AGAIN
The boys took the 4A team title for the third straight year, led by Noah Austin’s second straight singles championship. The Knights’ Elliot Klein and Jacob Pintar won boys doubles. Skyview’s Chase Hamilton and Sydney Ewing won mixed.
Parma swept the boys and girls 3A titles for the third straight year, winning doubles titles from Ryan and Jared Nielsen (boys), Emily Myers and Kali Grambo (girls) and Mitch Nielsen and Kailee Laub (mixed). Fruitland’s Kooper Crow repeated in boys singles champion, beating Parma’s Tanner Kramer.