Borg, Schoenlein cruise to 6A title

BEAVERTON — Tanner Borg closed out his high school tennis career with a third state doubles title Saturday, but this win came with a special reward — he teamed with his best friend Austin Schoenlein.

Borg and Schoenlein capitalized on their strong return game and beat the Jesuit duo of Brendon Gibbons and Gram Leahy 6-3, 6-3, in finals of the Class 6A boys state doubles championships at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center.

The North Medford seniors broke serve eight times in the match and closed out the tournament with four two-set wins.

"Winning a title is awesome, and it keeps getting better every year," said Borg, who won the past two years with David Longmire. "It's great to go out playing with my best friend."

The win helped the Black Tornado finish third in the team standings.

In the Class 5A boys doubles consolation final, Jeff Laskos and Chas Bernard of Ashland fell to Matt Walker and Daniel Nellis of Churchill, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

Playing in his first final, Schoenlein performed like a veteran, especially with his serve. He lost the opening game of the match, but won the next four times he served. The other three players won just one game each.

"I had a little trouble with nerves, but after I settled down it was smooth sailing," Schoenlein said. "It was exciting to feel that nervous. It's really the first time I've been nervous for a match."

"Austin's serve really saved us," Borg said. "He stepped it up and got us amped up, which allowed us to put a lot of pressure on their serving."

Borg said his pre-match words to Schoenlein were simple — have fun.

"I told him this would not be our hardest match, it would be our most fun match," he said. "And it was."

Borg and Schoenlein, who reached the tournament as a freshman and sophomore, scored seven service breaks in the match. Gibbons and Leahy, seeded third, held serve just twice a day after a three-set upset of second-seeded West Linn seniors Christopher Erbin and Miles Rifkin, who lost in the final the past two years.

"We were just hoping to get to the final and get that experience," Gibbons said. "The semis took a lot out of us and that showed. We knew it would be tough to win the final because they're a great team."

"We had trouble with our serve in the semis, too," Gibbons added. "But we had a lot more movement on our returns, which helped us win. We didn't have that movement in the final."

Borg said Saturday's final was a nice change from last year's final, where he and Longmire staved off match point.

"It definitely was different, without all the stress," he said.

Borg leaves the high school ranks having won 14 of 15 matches in four state tournaments, including wins in his last 12 matches the past three years. He said he plans to attend the University of Oregon and will attempt to walk-on to the tennis team.

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