CARIBOU, Maine — The bus ride home to Caribou was a lot shorter than the one to Waterville for the Caribou High School boys and girls tennis teams.
That’s because they both annexed Class B North championships at Colby College on Wednesday.
The second-seeded Caribou boys beat top seed Waterville 5-0 and the top-seeded Caribou girls upended No. 2 John Bapst of Bangor 5-0.
The wins earned both teams a berth in the state championships in Lewiston on Saturday.
For the Caribou boys, it is their first regional title since 2008 when the Vikings won their last state championship while the girls defended their regional title.
The Caribou boys avenged a 3-2 semifinal loss to Waterville last season.
“I thought we could do something special on the boys and girls side this year,” said Caribou’s John Habeeb, who coaches both teams. “I’m pretty proud of them. They made me look good.”
In the boys match, the Vikings took full advantage of their experience.
“Our boys have a lot of experience. Most of them have been to the finals. Any time you can roll out a pair of seniors (Seth Beidelman and Emerson Duplissie-Cyr) as your second doubles team (you’re doing well). Usually, your second doubles team is freshmen and sophomores,” said Habeeb.
Beidelman and Duplissie-Cyr beat Waterville’s Ben Danner and John Evans 6-2, 6-1.
“All the matches were being played simultaneously and when our second doubles team got up 4-1 in the first set, that pumped up our first doubles team playing right next to them,” said Habeeb, who is in his 31st year as the Caribou coach.
Freshman Sawyer Deprey and senior Bailey Griffeth won the other doubles match, 7-5, 6-0 over Adam Livshits and Conrad Ayers.
In the singles matches, junior Gabe Rand bested Charlie Haberstock 6-0, 6-4; senior Alec Cyr beat Mohammed Ali Atif-Sheikh 6-2 and 6-2 and sophomore Parker Deprey, Sawyer’s brother, won a super tie-breaker 10-7 in the third set after splitting the first two sets against Soren Nyhus.
Deprey won the first set 6-3 but Nyhus captured the second 6-2.
With the outcome already decided, rather than play a regular set they played to 10 points.
Habeeb said he felt his boys “exceeded expectations” in their performance on Wednesday.
“We were playing a hometown opponent (with a home crowd advantage),” said Habeeb.
The girls match was a little more nerve-wracking for Habeeb as he was trying to keep tabs on all 10 matches which were going simultaneously.
His top singles player, Gabrielle Marquis, lost the first set to John Bapst’s Crystal Bell and his second doubles team was behind 5-4.
“I thought, Holy cow, if this doesn’t turn around, we could lose,” said Habeeb, noting that he thought his third singles player and first doubles team were going to win “hands down.”
Senior Marquis rallied to beat Bell 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 7-5 and the second doubles team of seniors Samantha Tourk and Kyra Thibeault battled back to upend Haley Grover and Adelaide Valley 7-6 (7-2) and 6-1.
Senior Ashley Matlock beat John Bapst freshman Harper Averitt 6-3, 6-2, junior Hailey Holmquist defeated Riley Satterfield 6-1, 6-0 and the doubles team of sophomore Madison Stratton and sophomore Ciara Richards beat Lisa Murphy and Grace Philippon 6-1, 6-0.
“Our seniors played really well today,” said Habeeb. “We beat Bapst 5-0 at our place during the season but I thought the Bapst girls really stepped it up today. They played much better than they did during the regular season. Their coach (Jason Hoyt) should be really proud of the way the played.”