NORTH BEND — Jim Jordan got a rare treat during the Midwestern League district tennis tournament last week.
The North Bend coach got to watch his top four players, recently formed into two doubles teams in preparation for district, battle each other with spots in the state tournament already guaranteed.
There was still plenty on the line for the duos of Matthew Jordan and Jack Wilson, and Nico Parvin and Kendall Ehlin — since it was the semifinals, only one of the squads would get to the district title match.
But there was no pressure for Jim Johnson, who didn’t coach either squad during the match.
“That was really fun to watch,” he said.
As it turns out, Matthew Jordan and Wilson won, but only after losing the first set, and went on to win the district title. And Ehlin and Parvin went on to place third.
Now they are headed to Portland for the Class 5A tournament, which starts Friday.
“I’m excited to spend more time with these great guys at state,” Wilson said.
For Wilson and Matthew Jordan it’s a second state opportunity. Jordan played in singles last year and Wilson with a then-senior doubles partner when North Bend was in the Class 4A tournament.
Wilson downplayed the value of last year’s experience.
“We are in a new classification and two new locations,” he said of the tournament, which will be played at the Portland Tennis Center on Friday and the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center on Saturday. “It’s a bunch of teams I’ve never played.”
But he has hope for success with Jordan after he and his partner were in the consolation bracket last year, though they did reach the consolation finals.
“I’m hoping this year I don’t have to go to consolations,” he said.
Wilson is the only doubles veteran in the group — it’s what he’s played all the way through. Jordan, Ehlin and Parvin all have played singles, but were moved over to doubles to give them a better chance of getting to state.
“We pretty well had seen everybody,” Jim Jordan said. “We know what singles looked like. Singles was tough.”
The move turned out good since both doubles teams advanced to state.
Matthew Jordan said he tried to adjust as quickly as possible to the doubles techniques.
“It’s (Jack’s) thing,” he said. “He’s teaching me.”
The two turned out to complement each other well.
“We’ve been working great as a team, improving on our faults and pushing each other to be better players,” Wilson said.
Jordan said it helps having a veteran and upbeat partner like Wilson.
“Doubles is so much more uplifting, especially with a partner so uplifting as Jack,” he said. “There’s nothing but positivity between us.”
Likewise, Ehlin and Parvin quickly improved as partners.
“We know each other,” Ehlin said. “We can easily communicate with each other.
“We both have weaknesses and strengths we can contribute to. Nico is more consistent. I have more power in my game.”
Parvin said it helps that both players understand good tennis principles.
“We ended up meshing together,” he said.
Parvin, like Jordan a junior, has only been on the tennis team for two years. He played golf as a freshman but joined it at the suggestion of an older brother who played for the Bulldogs.
“My brother and his friends convinced me to play,” he said. “I like golf a bit. I like tennis more.”
Ehlin, meanwhile, has played all through high school and some before but is getting to play at state for the first time.
“Every year, you want to go,” he said. “To finally be able to go, it’s good. It shows that all that hard work paid off.”
The Bulldogs said their match against each other was fun, but they were disappointed it came in the semifinals instead of the championship match, since they were on the same side of the bracket.
“I enjoyed playing them,” Jordan said. “We definitely improve every time we play in practice.”
At state, the Bulldogs are again on the same side of the bracket, though each would have to win twice to reach the semifinals where they would face off.
North Bend’s teams are not up against seeded players in their first matches, though Ehlin and Parvin would likely face the top seed if they win their first match. Jordan and Wilson likely would face the No. 3 seed.
“We’ll take it one match, one point at a time,” Parvin said.
North Bend’s girls also have a doubles squad at state, district champions Macy Metcalf and Adrianna Frank.
After their dominant run through district, they were given the No. 3 seed and if they win would have at least two matches before meeting another seeded pair.
The first round and quarterfinals are Friday, as well as the first consolation round for athletes who lose their first matches.