Bullpups qualify all six for state

 SALINA — McPherson High School tennis head coach Tyler Brown does not believe his team played its best tennis at a loaded regionals on Saturday at Salina Central, but the Bullpups accomplished their goal of qualifying an entire team for the state tournament. 

“We were a little off but still managed to get everyone to state,” Brown said. “We showed perseverance and determination to win in moments we absolutely needed to.”

The doubles team of CeAnna Allen and Taylor Bruce will take a 31-0 record into the state tournament next week, where the duo should be the No. 1 overall seed. Allen and Bruce added a regional championship to their list of accomplishments on Saturday.

“Taylor and CeAnna were the rock of the team again,” Brown said. “While Coach [Ricardo] Sanchez and I were focused on several of the others trying to make it to state, Taylor and CeAnna really didn’t get a lot of coaching that day, but that’s the terrific thing about those two, you can trust them enough that you don’t have to be sitting right on their court making sure they get the job done.”

While Allen and Bruce will have a first-round bye at state, the rest of the Bullpups will not be so fortunate. 

In singles, Perrin Schneider will be a dangerous No. 5 seed after defeating teammate Sydney Achilles for fifth place. Achilles will take a No. 6 seed into state after coming into regionals with a 0-0 varsity singles record this year.

“I asked a lot of Sydney Achilles going into the day with a singles record of 0-0,” Brown said. “Knowing Sydney‘s character and her fight was one of the reasons I went with her. She just never gives up. She opened up in her first match down 2-5 and won that set 7-5.”

The doubles team of Rachel Carlson and Patty Huerta will also be dangerous at state as a No. 5 seed. The duo rebounded from a loss in the quarterfinals to finish the day 3-1.

“After a tough loss they came back and took care of business to qualify themselves for state, both finishing fifth,” Brown said of both Carlson and Huerta and Schneider.

Class 5A State Tennis is in Pittsburg this year. The Bullpups will be looking for a top-three finish.

“One of our goals was to bring home some kind of team hardware this year but to do so we will have to win some key matches at state,” Brown said. “We can’t afford to have another average day. We will need to play some of our best tennis in order to meet that goal.”

Smoky Valley qualifies five, takes second at regionals

 HILLSBORO — Five Smoky Valley High School Viking netters are off to the state tournament next weekend after finishing in the top six at regionals last Friday and Saturday.

In singles, Lena Rauchholz finished fourth. Smoky Valley qualified both its doubles teams as well.

The duo of Rachel Yenni and Karik Elloitt finished as regional runner-ups and will take a No. 2 seed into state. The team of Emily Jones and Elaina McMillan made the semifinals and finished third.

The Vikings nearly qualified an entire team, but Isabelle Wright fell one match shy of making it to state. In the match that determined whether or not she would advance to the state tournament, Wright fell in three sets 7-6 (6), 1-6, 2-6.

As a team, Smoky Valley finished second to Kansas City Christian.

Class 3-2-1A State Tennis is this Friday and Saturday in Kansas City at the Prairie Village-Harmon Park Tennis Complex.

Elyria’s Bontrager finishes season with 17-15 record

 The lone competitor for the Elyria Christian School girls tennis team, senior Shelby Bontrager, ended her season at the regional tournament on Friday in Hillsboro.

Bontrager entered with a 17-14 record which earned her the No. 9 seed. In Bontrager’s only match, she fell to No. 8 seed Isabelle Wright of Smoky Valley, 6-4, 6-0.