Thursday’s Hesston Invitational Tennis Tournament will be like a mini-preseason state tournament.
State-ranked teams McPherson High, Buhler and host Hesston headline the field as competition is expected to be fierce.
MHS earned the No. 1 preseason ranking in Class 4A despite losing four state qualifiers. Yet, Bullpup coach Tyler Brown believes his team can be in the hunt for a team title on Thursday.
“I would like to think we could win it as a team,” Brown said. “We should be a Top 2 team there though if we play to our potential. Hesston and Buhler will be very good. I believe Hesston came out with several votes in 3-2-1A at No. 2 in the state. Buhler was the same for 4A, they had many votes for No. 2 and No. 3 in the state and even received a vote for No. 1 in the state.”
The Bullpups are led by Ellea Ediger, who was second in the state in singles as a freshman and fifth last year. Rachel Ivers, another state returnee, will be solid, though she may miss this meet because she’s been out with strep throat. If she can’t go, Sophie Smith will step in.
The other Bullpup regulars for this first meet are Cassidy Corrigan, Maisie Edmonson, Heidi Myers and Shelby Gudenkauf.
Buhler returns the reigning state champion doubles team in Jessica Steffen and Kendra Nachtigal. Hesston welcomes back five players who were state qualifiers.
One other team to watch on Thursday, according to Brown, is Smoky Valley as it returns several standouts.