North Medford’s Austin Schoenlein stretches to return a shot during the North Medford-Ashland Invitational on Saturday. - Jamie Lusch

Schoenlein in the spotlight

Austin Schoenlein was just moments behind his good friend and teammate Colt Hoeptner on Mt. Ashland a few weeks ago when things would change in an instant for the both of them.

Hoeptner went down in a heap when his ski came free and his knee buckled in the opposite direction.

The result was torn anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments and a meniscus tear in his knee.

"I basically tore up the whole thing," said Hoeptner.

Gone was Hoeptner's junior season of tennis as North Medford High's No. 1 singles player.

But in his place stepped Schoenlein, and the Black Tornado hasn't skipped a beat.

Schoenlein, also a junior, has played some singles this year at the No. 2 position. He filled in for former No. 1 player Michael Tribble, who missed the first part of the season with an injured back, but had much of his success partnering with David Tribble in doubles last year.

"It was a tough decision moving Austin to No. 1 (singles)," said North coach Hal Borg. "He and David have been very successful playing together. They made it to the (Class 6A) state quarterfinals last year. That's tough to give up."

Since his move to No. 1 singles, Schoenlein has dropped only one match — a 6-2, 6-1 decision to one of the Northwest's top singles players in Sheldon's Chad Henninger.

On Saturday, Schoenlein continued his recent trend of success by rallying to defeat Summit's Cody Kohlmoos, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, in the championship match of the eight-team North Medford-Ashland Invitational at the North Medford courts.

The comeback win was done in typical Schoenlein fashion: few mistakes and a powerful drive that allows him to stay in every match.

"He is tenacious," said Borg. "He has two things going for him: his speed on the court, and he's a fighter. You saw both of those today."

Schoenlein rarely missed a first serve and simply wore down Kohlmoos in the third set.

"I felt a little unsure after the first game of the third set," said Schoenlein, who dropped the opening game, "but then I could tell I was starting to get my groove back.

"I served well — I only double-faulted maybe two or three times, which is pretty good for a three-set match — and I played my style of game."

Schoenlein's victory was one of many Saturday that helped the Black Tornado clinch the team title with 120 points. Summit, which missed out on a chance to overtake North for the team title by losing two head-to-head battles in the championship flights, took second with 80 points.

The top doubles team of Tanner Borg and David Longmire coasted to a championship with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over South Eugene's Ryan Kingzett and Alex Motsch, while Michael and David Tribble cruised by Brendan Zhang and Nick Leppmann of Summit, 6-2, 6-0, in the No. 2 doubles title match and North's Nate Dines slipped by Killian Sump of Newberg, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2, in No. 3 singles. Eric Loeffler also helped pad the Tornado's winning total by claiming a consolation title with a 6-4, 6-1 triumph over Bend's Tyler Asla.

Ashland had two championship wins behind Josh and Nathan Harris, who defeated North Medford's Andrew Walkup and Grant Anderson at No. 4 doubles, and Clint Gorbett and Alex Harris, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 winners over Eli Zauner and Patrick Hong of South Eugene in No. 3 doubles.

Michael Tribble was North's top singles player last season prior to this spring's injury. With Hoeptner moved to No. 1 to start the year, Schoenlein filled in at No. 2. Then came Hoeptner's injury.

"It was kind of like, one door closes and another door opens," Schoenlein said. "I didn't want to get it (No. 1 singles) that way, but at the same time I'm going to do anything I can to help my team. I feel more responsible for the younger guys on the team now."

Schoenlein will most likely be the Southwest Conference's No. 2 seed at the district tournament on May 8 and 10 at South Eugene. Henninger is almost assured of the top seed.

The state tournament opens May 15 in Tualatin.

"I think I have a good shot at getting a pretty good seed (to state)," said Schoenlein. "But I don't want to look too far ahead."

Hoeptner will have nine months off while rehabbing his injured knee but hopes to be back by next season. In the meantime, he plans on being in the cheering section for Schoenlein and his teammates.

"Austin is more than capable of being the No. 1," said Hoeptner. "He plays really good tennis. I know he'll do a great job."

North Medford-Ashland Invitational

TEAM SCORES — 1, North Medford 120; 2, Summit 80; 3, South Eugene 64; 4, Barlow 61; 5, Ashland 60; 6, Newberg 49; 7, Churchill 40; 8, Bend 2.



FLIGHT 1 — Austin Schoenlein, North Medford, d. Cody Kohlmoos, Summit, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

FLIGHT 2 — Ciscero Franco, Summit, d. Garrett Parfitt, Barlow, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3.

FLIGHT 3 — Nate Dines, North Medford, d. Killian Sump, Newberg, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2.

FLIGHT 4 — Sam Box, Barlow, d. Noah Kass, Ashland, 6-0, 6-1.



FLIGHT 1 — Tanner Borg-David Longmire, North Medford, d. Ryan Kingzette-Alex Motsch, South Eugene, 6-2, 6-2.

FLIGHT 2 — Michael Tribble-David Tribble, North Medford, d. Brendan Zhang-Nick Leppmann, Summit, 6-2, 6-0.

FLIGHT 3 — Clint Gorbett-Alex Harris, Ashland, d. Eli Zauner-Patrick Hong, South Eugene, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6.

FLIGHT 4 — Josh Harris-Nathan Harris, Ashland, d. Andrew Walkup-Grant Anderson, North Medford, 7-5, 6-3.

Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 776-4483, or e-mail

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