LINDSBORG — It can’t be classified as an upset now.
McPherson High’s doubles team of Ellea Ediger and Rachel Ivers scored their second straight win over Class 4A defending state champions Jessica Steffen and Kendra Nachigal of Buhler on Saturday to win the regional championship.
Ediger and Ivers won 6-4, 6-4 to stamp themselves as one of the top four seeds at state next week at Winfield. They defeated Steffen and Nachtigal in the finals of the earlier Smoky Valley Invitational.
MHS also qualified its other doubles entry of Cassidy Corrigan and Maisie Edmonson, which finished fourth.
Buhler (13 points), however, won the team title by one point over MHS and Clay Center. Smoky Valley was a close fourth with 10.
MHS coach Tyler Brown admitted it was a brutally tough decision as to how to set his lineup as he wanted to get all six players to state, where the Bullpups took second last year.
“Tough thing as a coach is knowing I could of gone with a different lineup and probably won regionals by a handful of points,” Brown said. “But also knowing that lineup would not be the one we wanted for state. I still feel our ultimate goal of being Top 3 at the end of the year is attainable. We went doubles strong for a reason. If our doubles play to their potential, I still feel we can get enough points to hopefully bring home some hardware.”
Singles players Shelby Gudenkauf and Heidi Myers did not advance, with Gudenkauf just barely missing a state berth as she needed just one more win.
The doubles final was again a terrific match. Ediger and Ivers —both juniors — fell behind 3-0 in the first set, then ran off six of the next seven games. The second set was polar opposite, with the Bullpups racing to a 4-0 lead, only to have to weather the storm for another 6-4 win.
Smoky Valley’s Emily Roets and Katie Bellah took third in doubles as they avenged an earlier loss to Corrigan and Edmonson, while the Vikes also advanced Ally Karber and Kira Haxton in singles as they were fifth and sixth, respectively. Buhler’s Michaela Esau won the singles title, as her path was made a little easier without Ediger in the draw. Ediger had finished second and fifth at state, respectively, in the last two years.