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Wil Cochrane Captures State Title

May 20, 2012
Phoenix High School

from Oregonlive.com

EUGENE – Phoenix never had a boys tennis team until two years ago, when Wil Cochrane was interested in becoming the school’s first player.

Now the Pirates have a first-place plaque to display in their trophy case, after Cochrane won the Class 4A/3A/2A/1A boys singles title Saturday at the University of Oregon. The Portland State-bound senior polished off a dominating run to the title after beating Catlin Gabel’s Andrew Salvador 6-3, 6-2 in the singles final. His performance also propelled Phoenix to a 3rd place team finish.

Cochrane played tennis one year for a co-op Phoenix-South Medford team, but wanted to give his sport some identity at Phoenix. So, with his father Andy serving as coach, Cochrane became a one-man team for the Pirates as a junior last year, when he reached the state final before losing to La Salle Prep’s Luis Pineda.

“Kids around school used to say “Tennis is stupid, and why do you play tennis?’” Wil Cochrane said. “After I made that run last year, now some kids are starting to play.”

Another boy turned out for Phoenix tennis this spring. Cochrane hopes the sight of a state championship plaque in the school’s trophy case will spur others to give tennis a chance.

“I wanted to win it so bad this year. I feel like this will get a team going at Phoenix,” Cochrane said.

It was obvious throughout his two-set match against Salvador – the 2009 4A/3A/2A/1A state singles champion – how much winning meant to Cochrane. He quietly fist-pumped good shots throughout the match, and occasionally looked skyward as the championship neared.

“I’ve dreamt and fantasized for a long time about winning that final point,” said Cochrane, who will play college tennis for the Vikings next year.

Cochrane dominated during his run to the state title, losing just nine games in four state tournament matches. Cochrane said the win over Salvador was tougher than it appeared.

“My serve made me feel confident. But he took me to enough deuces to make me nervous,” Cochrane said.

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