Prep tennis: Auburn Riverside’s Cegielski twins dominate the competition

Auburn Riverside had a dynamite season on the tennis court this season.

Going into the postseason play, it was said by a rival head coach that it’s the Cegielski twins, a gap, then everybody else.

In the district tournament that rang true, Auburn Riverside’s Matthew Cegielski and Daniel Cegielski dominated their competition, taking first place in the West Central District Tournament. The TikTok famous duo with 3.2 million followers only lost 5 games in the entire tournament.

Being twins brings a stronger knowledge and understanding of their teammate: “It is definitely an advantage that we use, like an instinct,” Matthew said.

The biggest challenge facing the Cegielskis so far was their opening match against Bainbridge Island’s number one doubles team. Both twins had different thoughts when it came to their opponent.

“Not gonna lie, I was super nervous once I saw the draw, because I heard from everyone, ‘Oh they’re from Bainbridge.’ … And we looked them up online and saw they have been district champions before. It was a really nerve-racking first match,” Daniel said.

Matthew took more of an analytical stance: “We like to talk about which one (opponent) is better and what are some of their weaknesses. We started off in the match pretty strong, and then in the second set, you know, we got tired, coaches came in and gave them new strategies. So you just have to adapt to it.”

The Cegielskis played the majority of the season apart from each other, Head Coach Tim Kuykendall split them up to try and win more overall matches. But when the postseason comes, you better believe they will be on the court together.

In their freshman season, back in 2019, they qualified for the state tournament. Due to COVID that spring, it was canceled. In 2020, their season never happened. But in 2021, the twins were finally able to make a run into the state tournament.

“We were talking to other coaches in Seattle and they provided us with a lot of beneficial connections to help us at state. Last year we played in the fall, and we stopped and started again right before state,” Matthew said. The twins ended up finishing in seventh place at the 3A level in Richland.

One problem that popped up was Daniel had really bad leg cramps in one of their matches at state. Thomas Jefferson High School Coach Andrew Buchan was there stretching Cegielski out, in between essentially every point.

“He got cramps last year really bad, which impacted his play. And this year, he now knows what to do to not let that happen this time,” Matthew said.

On the court and when crampless, this duo is close to unstoppable. But they have their moments, especially as brothers.

“When you’re playing doubles with another person or a teammate, the bond isn’t as strong as it is between us,” Matthew said.

Daniel had similar sentiments: “We kind of know each other to a point. We know what he’s not the best at. I know what I am not. We kind of connect on that, and use our weaknesses to our advantage… Matthew and I compliment each other very well.”

After their win against Bainbridge on Oct. 26, their next opponent was Stadium High School’s number one doubles team, which they handled in straight sets. With that win, the twins ensured they will play in the state tournament this May 27-28 at the Pacific Club in Kennewick.

Just as many other siblings have in a competitive environment, some things don’t stay on the court.

“There are some times where it is so heated that, like, we don’t talk for a day. It gets really wild,” Daniel said.

The other unique trait of this Ravens duo is their social media stardom. The @cegielski_twins on Tik Tok have 3.2 million followers, and their most recent video has over 100,000 likes. On Instagram, each twin has over 100,000 followers. Being relevant on social media has had an impact on the twins’ lives.

“I think when we are in public, we get noticed by about 3 out of 10 random people, which may not seem like a lot, but it is quite often we get seen. We were on vacation in Hawaii and got noticed and recognized,” Daniel said.

The reach of the twins had not really been thought of until that interaction. The style of content is largely based on transition videos, but Daniel said they often follow trends as well. When asked if they ever thought of making tennis videos, they said, “Our mom was telling us to make tennis content.”