The Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League Division III-IV Tennis Championships started just after dawn here Monday and finished long after dusk.
When the nearly 12-hour day that featured some rain, sun, crisp temperatures — and most of all amazing tennis — came to an end, McPherson High emerged as the champion of what probably was the toughest league meet of any in Kansas.
The Bullpups, the No. 2-ranked team in Class 4A, outlasted No. 1 Wichita Collegiate 62-56 for the championship, while other top Class 4A state contenders Winfield (45) and Buhler (40) rounded out the upper half. Those four teams are expected to be in the Top 10 next weekend at the 4A state meet.
Circle was fifth with 36 points. Other totals were Wellington (31), Augusta (8) and El Dorado (2).
MHS coach Tyler Brown, while ecstatic with the team championship, admitted the lineups that took the court for several of the teams won’t be the same as those that play Friday and Saturday at the various regional meets. Collegiate was missing two of its top six, while Wellington did not bring its top doubles team, opting to rest it for later in the week.
“In no way do I want to take away from what we accomplished because we played great, but there were some crazy lineups today,” Brown said.
Yet, he still was pleased as his team triumphed with the players that were there.
“A lot of the semifinals were pivotal matches and we won three of four,” Brown said. “The one we lost came against the defending 4A champions. Even the matches after those semifinals I felt like we really came through.”
The Bullpups ruled at singles. With the other teams tilting heavily toward doubles, Ellea Ediger basically had no competition at the No. 1 spot, losing only three games in her three matches. Ediger was second in the state in singles as a freshman and fifth last year as a sophomore. “She was our anchor,” Brown said.
But the story of the day was Maisie Edmonson, who entered the No. 2 singles division as the No. 4 seed, but knocked off the Nos. 1 and 2 players in her final two matches to secure the championship. Her 6-4, 6-0 semifinal win over top-seed Jenna Groene of Winfield was certainly the highlight as Groene has been a top-notch player for a long time.
“Those seeds, you kind of take them with a grain of salt,” said Brown, who noted that Edmonson hadn’t played that many singles matches and the other coaches didn’t know that much about her. “She had a record of 2-3 and I’m sure the coaches saw that. But I think there were a handful of coaches who knew how good of a player she was. She plays in a lot of the summer tournaments. She played great today.”
The Bullpups also gave a good account of themselves in doubles. The No. 1 team of Rachel Ivers and Cassidy Corrigan went 2-1 for third (losing to defending 4A champions Jessica Steffen and Kendra Nachtigal of Buhler in the semifinals), while the No. 2 team of Shelby Gudenkauf and Heidi Myers took second, playing what Brown called “their best tennis of the year.”
The No. 1 doubles final produced the most drama of the night as Wichita Collegiate’s two-time defending state champions Hannah Osland and Allie Lindwall outlasted Buhler’s reigning state champs Steffen and Nachitgal 6-4, 6-4 in what could be a preview of a state championship final. However, MHS’ Ediger and Ivers own a victory over Steffen and Nachtigal, though Brown is unsure how he’ll line up for Friday’s regional at Smoky Valley.