MAIZE — While eight teams were in attendance at the Class 5A Regional Tournament in Maize, there were three teams with a realistic shot of capturing the team title.
The McPherson High School girls tennis team scored 11 team points to win regionals, edging Salina South’s 10 points and Salina Central’s nine points en route to the team victory.
The Bullpups qualified five for state in the process, including a singles finalist and a doubles finalist.
"Today was a good day. I felt like Coach [Ricardo] Sanchez and I were well prepared for the seeding meeting and were ready to position our players in the best way possible," head coach Tyler Brown said. "Once we came out of the meeting, I felt like we were in a terrific position to win regionals."
Patty Huerta was seeded second and finished second. Huerta won her first two matches in straight sets, then won a three-setter over Salina South’s Tess Daily 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals.
Top-seed Callie Sanborn of Salina Central won regionals with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Huerta in the finals.
In doubles, CeAnna Allen and Perrin Schneider were also seeded second and lived up to their seeding. Allen and Schneider won their first round, quarterfinal, and semifinal matches in straight sets, but fell to Alexxa Nunemaker and Iliana Armbrust in the finals 7-5, 6-2.
The Bullpups are also sending the doubles team of Maddie Dobson and Taylor Berger to state after their fourth-place performance. Dobson and Berger punched their ticket to state with a thrilling 1-6, 7-6 (5), 14-12 win in the do-or-die quarterfinal match against Salina Central’s Emme Turpin and McKenzie Nutter.
Dobson and Berger fell to Allen and Schneider in the semifinals, then dropped a three-setter to Salina Central’s Janae Montoya and Reagan Geihsler 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in the third-place match.
McPherson nearly qualified an entire team for state, but Sydney Achilles fell in three sets in the quarterfinals 6-4, 3-6, 10-5 to Salina South’s Laura Brucker.
In year’s past, losing in the quarterfinals did not mean the end of the season. But with COVID-19, only the top four reach state instead of the top six.
However, reaching the quarterfinals did guarantee a point in terms of team standings, and with the Bullpups winning regionals by one point, it was truly a team effort.
"With a league title and a regional title, we hope to keep it going and bring home some hardware the state tournament as well," Brown said.
Class 5A State Tennis will be held from Oct. 16-17 at Andover District Tennis Complex.