Herbert ready to start waiting

TACOMA — Will Herbert knows what it’s like to wait.

Once again, the CK senior and No. 1 tennis player has earned the right to compete in the 4A West Central District 3 tournament.

But this time, Herbert plans on making that date. In recent seasons Herbert has qualified but been unable to make the tourney due to off-the-court issues. Last year, Herbert was slated to make it with doubles teammate Jacob Hobaugh, when Hobaugh moved away. Grades have also played a factor in the past.

But with those things behind him, Herbert is ready to make an impact come this spring.

“It’s great, but one thing now is we have to wait for six months,” CK boys tennis coach Christopher Floro said. “So we’ll make sure he keeps working off the court too in school.”

Herbert’s path through the weekend’s Narrows League Tournament, at the University of Puget Sound, wasn’t an easy one. The No. 1 Bridge seed, he got a first-round bye after Ken Hubbell of Stadium was forced to drop out due to a lower back injury.

But that may have made a more difficult task for Herbert, as Floro said he was unable to get warmed up before his second-round match.

“That ended up hurting Will because he sat for four-and-a-half hours until it’s time to play,” Floro said.

When it finally came time, Herbert found himself in a tough battle with Bellarmine’s Zach Jiganti, who beat Olympic’s Justin Hike 6-2, 6-2 to open the first round.

After Jiganti took the first set 6-4, Herbert rallied back to win 7-6, 6-3 into the semifinals.

“It was a fighter,” Floro said. “Jiganti I think had a definite advantage going into the match. He was actually up 5-4 in the second set and serving for the match. Will just dug deep.”

“I felt pretty good,” Herbert said. “I felt pretty confident in myself. I didn’t really get down on myself.”

That mental toughness is something Herbert said he’s worked on this season, and something Floro said was working.

“That was a tough match,” Floro said. “I think it was just a matter of Will really digging deep and not getting caught up in a hitting match. He had that mental edge when it counted.”

That win brought up another formidable Bellarmine foe, Paul Namkoong. Namkoong, who finished second in the tourney, won 6-2, 6-1, but the match was much closer than it appeared. In the second set, seemingly every game went to a tie-break before being decided.

“The entire match was all deuce games,” Herbert said. “The score doesn’t show it, but the whole match was really tough.”

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