Moeyo Tanaka, left, and Kori Longrich.

Kodiak High freshmen Kori Longrich and Moeyo Tanaka will make their state tournament tennis debuts today in Anchorage.

Kodiak’s girls’ doubles team qualified for the state tournament by finishing second at the Region III Tennis Championships. They open their first state tournament at 4 p.m. today against the doubles team from Eagle River. 

The double-elimination tournament concludes Saturday.   

According to Kodiak coach Steve Johnston, both girls are eager to test their skills against the state’s best. They also are excited to see the level of play and hope to return home with at least one victory. 

“This year, I actually wanted them to play singles so they would get more court/hitting time in competition,” Johnston wrote in an email. “This would hopefully have increased their court awareness, developed their competitive edge and increased their speed. There can be lots of waiting time in doubles.”

Still, Longrich and Tanaka find themselves at the state tournament. They are the only Kodiak players who advanced to the state tournament, which is being played at Alaska Club East. The Region III Championship was also staged at Alaska Club East. 

The girls liked the fact that it is an indoor facility but were bothered by the background. 

“They didn’t like the blue court on a green background as they are used to our green courts on a red background,” Johnston wrote. 

Johnston thanked his assistant coaches Derrik Magnuson, Lawrence (Larry) Velasco and Laurel Huebner for helping Longrich and Tanaka qualify for state.

“I couldn’t ask for a better set of coaches,” Johnston wrote. 

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