Eagles send tennis players to state for the first time in school history!

HESSTON— Elyria Christian School is doing something for the very first time; sending a girl's tennis player to the state tournament. Makenzie Archer, a junior from McPherson, finished in fifth place in the Hesston regional to earn a trip to state, a first for her as well.

Archer, the No. 3 seed, opened the tournament with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Breanna Fenno from Douglass. In the quarterfinals Archer had a rematch of two weeks ago with Breanna Fenno from Douglass, whom she previously defeated 8-6. This time it was Miller coming out on top 7-6 (4), 6-3, relegating Makenzie to the backside of the draw and her final chance to qualify for state.

"She was devastated because this was the third year in a row she found herself playing in the same match to go to state," said Eagles coach Jeremy Nelson. "She lost both times she was in this position before. Right before she went on we prayed together and I asked the Lord to help her stop holding on so tight to the dream of state and just enjoy the game and have fun."

Archer was able to do that and qualify for state. In the elimination match she faced Marin McCausland from Wichita Independent. She dropped the opening game of the first set before winning six of the next seven games to win the set 6-2, followed by a match closing 6-0 second set victory to move on the the fifth-place game.

Squaring off against the No. 5 seed, Archer very relaxed and full of confidence and dispatched of Mikayka Mendes of Central Plains 6-1, 6-0. The fifth place finish earned her a spot in the state tournament and the joy of finally accomplishing her long-held dream.

Archer moves on to the state tournament this weekend in Kansas City. The tournament will be played at Prairie Village and is hosted by Kansas City Christian School. Seeds and draw positions will be determined at the Friday morning coaches' meeting.

Contact Matt Cole by email at mcole@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @MacSentinel