Sports Stories

Members of both Sedona Red Rock High School’s tennis teams begin play in the Arizona Interscholastic Association Division III State tournament Friday, April 21, at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale.

One singles player and one doubles duo from both the boys and girls team will represent the Scorpions. Every team in the division is guaranteed a singles and doubles entry.

Should any of the Scorpions make it to the third round, they will return on Saturday, April 22.

On the boys side, sophomore Kai Zimmerman is the singles player who took over the No. 1 spot in the ladder just weeks before season’s end to prepare for the tournament.

Zimmerman’s only loss came in his final match of the season at Anthem Preparatory Academy on Tuesday, April 18. He will face off with freshman Grant Richardson from Thatcher High School, the No. 1 team in the division.

“I expect a tough match. I’ll have to try my hardest,” Zimmerman said.

Junior Max Knaus and senior Leo Gonzalez, a new partnership after Knaus’ original partner did not attend practice, will make up the doubles team. They will enjoy a first-round bye before encountering opposition from either Arizona College Preparatory or Valley Union High School.

“It’s kind of a last-minute deal, but we played together a little last year so it’s not completely new,” Knaus said.

For the girls, junior Sarah Lynch will represent the Scorpions as the singles entry, taking on Chandler Preparatory Academy junior Vanessa Shin in the first round.

The freshman duo of Aria Harness and Leilani Olson enter as the doubles team. To their advantage, they are the only Scorpions setup that has played the entire season together.

“It’s helped so much, I think if we didn’t start at the beginning, we wouldn’t be as good,” Harness said. “You really have to know the person well and how the other person plays.”

In the first round, the duo will play against Scottsdale Christian Academy’s partnership of seniors Kate Lawrence and Courtney Sauder. As a team Red Rock defeated the Eagles 6-3 in their March 30 matchup, but it is not clear if Harness and Olson played against them.

“We’re going to win, and even if we don’t win we’re going to win in learning and experience,” Olson said.

If they win, they will move on to play Morenci Junior and Senior High School senior Bryanna Salaiz and freshman Reona Alvarez in round two.

Having finished with a 7-4 record, the boys team finished the season No. 14 in the Division III rankings, qualifying it for the team tournament. It will begin play on Wednesday, April 26, away to an opponent to be determined.