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Kadena Panthers sophomore Erika Youngdahl strikes a forehand return during Monday's Okinawa Activities Council district singles tennis tournament at Risner Tennis Complex, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Youngdahl beat teammate Christin Gentz in the finals 6-4, 6-1 to become the first DODDS player to win district singles titles in consecutive years in different districts.
Kadena Panthers sophomore Erika Youngdahl strikes a forehand return during Monday's Okinawa Activities Council district singles tennis tournament at Risner Tennis Complex, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Youngdahl beat teammate Christin Gentz in the finals 6-4, 6-1 to become the first DODDS player to win district singles titles in consecutive years in different districts. (Photo by Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)
Kadena Panthers sophomore Erika Youngdahl strikes a forehand return during Monday's Okinawa Activities Council district singles tennis tournament at Risner Tennis Complex, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Youngdahl beat teammate Christin Gentz in the finals 6-4, 6-1 to become the first DODDS player to win district singles titles in consecutive years in different districts.
Kadena Panthers sophomore Erika Youngdahl strikes a forehand return during Monday's Okinawa Activities Council district singles tennis tournament at Risner Tennis Complex, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Youngdahl beat teammate Christin Gentz in the finals 6-4, 6-1 to become the first DODDS player to win district singles titles in consecutive years in different districts. (Photo by Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)
Kadena Panthers junior Arlo Taylor strikes a forehand volley during Monday's Okinawa Activities Council district singles tennis tournament at Risner Tennis Complex, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Taylor beat teammate Donovan Tracy 6-0, 6-0 in the finals.
Kadena Panthers junior Arlo Taylor strikes a forehand volley during Monday's Okinawa Activities Council district singles tennis tournament at Risner Tennis Complex, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. Taylor beat teammate Donovan Tracy 6-0, 6-0 in the finals. (Photo by Dave Ornauer/Stars and Stripes)

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa – Erika Youngdahl became on Monday the first DODDS player to win district singles tennis tournament titles in consecutive years in different districts.

The Kadena sophomore downed Panthers senior teammate Christin Gentz 6-4, 6-1 to capture the Okinawa Activities Council district title at Kadena’s Risner Tennis Complex. Kadena Junior Arlo Taylor won the boys title by blanking teammate Donovan Tracy 6-0, 6-0.

A year earlier, Youngdahl made Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools history by becoming the first DODDS player to win a singles title in the KPASS tournament’s 37-year history.

“Wow. I don’t know what to say. Let’s hope I keep up the tradition next year,” Youndahl said after learning the news.

Youngdahl reached the OAC final by blanking Kubasaki’s Miasha Nakahara 8-0, then downing Kadena teammate Joanne Racine 8-2 in the semifinals, setting up the battle with Gentz, who played Youngdahl tough in the first set.

“Just grind it out,” Youngdahl said of how to beat Gentz. “I wasn’t going to win it with one shot. I just kept hitting them back.”

Taylor, meanwhile, became the first Kadena player named other than three-time district and three-time Far East champion Kyle Sprow to capture the boys title. It was Taylor’s last district tournament in Kadena uniform; he transfers to Yokota next year.

Of playing in the shadow of Sprow and three-time district runner-up Eliott Mason, Taylor said: “It got me motivated to want to play better. I saw how they played and it made me want to get much better than what I am, made me want to be a champion.”

Monday’s singles was the first of three OAC district tournaments this week. The singles had originally been scheduled for Oct. 19, but was postponed due to rain. The district doubles and mixed doubles are slated for 3 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. Friday at Kubasaki High School’s five-court complex

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He served 10½ years in the Air Force, the last 4½ assigned to Stripes in Tokyo, and was then hired by Stripes on Oct. 25, 1985. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages Pacific Storm Tracker.
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