Derek Clarkston/Kodiak Daily Mirror

Kodiak High School’s Chelsey Abad hits a return shot during tennis practice, last week at Baranof Park. 

Kodiak tennis, the defending regional champions, started strong on the first day of the Region III Championships on Monday in Anchorage.

The Bears are still alive for regional titles in three of the five events. 

In boys’ singles, Fisher Gandel defeated his Palmer opponent 6-1, 6-4 to move on in the winners’ bracket. 

The mixed doubles team of Chelsey Abad and Hunter Blair took out Wasilla 6-2, 6-2 to remain in the title hunt, while the girls’ doubles team of Alisha Santa Maria and Luanne Velasco clobbered Palmer and Colony by identical scores of 6-1, 6-1. 

Despite losing 6-4 and 6-2 to Colony, Kodiak’s boys’ doubles team of Tiger Oka and Max Pyles remained in the hunt to qualify for the state championships — the top two finishers in each event qualify for state. 

Kodiak’s Bella Goble is the only one eliminated from qualifying for state. The sophomore fell to a Colony opponent, 3-6, 6-2, 10-6, in her opening match. She rebounded to finish third with a 6-1, 6-1 thumping of a Wasilla player. 

The regional competition continues today and concludes Wednesday. 

Kodiak is the defending regional champion, topping Colony, Wasilla, Palmer and Lumin Christi last year. 

This is the third year that Region III has had a tournament. Colony won the inaugural tournament in 2015. Before that, Kodiak, as the only regional team, won eight titles in a row.    

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