While the singles division of the Class 4A State Tennis Tournament this weekend at Winfield appears to be pretty much decided, the doubles division should prove to be fascinating.
McPherson High’s Ellea Ediger and Rachel Ivers, both juniors, have played together very little this year. But they’ve played just enough to rate as one of the potential favorites for the state championship as they are a perfect 12-0.
Ediger and Ivers own two victories over defending state champions Jessica Steffen and Kendra Nachtigal of Buhler, a team they could very well meet again. Meanwhile, Wichita Collegiate’s Hannah Osland and Allie Lindwall have won back-to-back state doubles championships at the 3-2-1A level and have lost only once this year. They've also handed Steffen and Nachtigal their only other loss as the Crusader duo is 26-3.
MHS has a second doubles entry, senior Cassidy Corrigan and sophomore Maisie Edmonson, who could very well be in the quarterfinal draw. They are 18-9 after finishing fourth last week at Lindsborg in regional action.
“I felt at league we played some of our best tennis, but at regionals I felt we played a little tight,” MHS coach Tyler Brown said. “I'm hoping we can get back to playing loose and fearless and to our potential. If we do that, everything will take care of itself.”
Most observers are conceding the team title to Wichita Collegiate, but MHS — which was second to Independence last year after being ranked No. 1 all season — would still like to come away with what has been its customary plaque, which represents a Top 3 finish. However, the Bullpups did not qualify anyone in singles, so it needs a huge weekend from its two doubles teams.
“I do feel we have a chance to still be in the Top 3,” Brown said. “After Collegiate grabbing a good portion of the points, my prediction is that the points will be spread out enough that if both of my doubles teams finish in the Top 8, we are in contention for some hardware. And if some upsets happen, you just never know.”
Collegiate should have a Top 3 in doubles with Osland and Lindwall, while No. 2 team Katie Nussbaum and Greer Cody could make the quarters. In singles, the Spartans’ Sydney Lair is a probable semifinalist and Emily Ramsey should make the quarters.
Singles appears to be a done deal. Coffeyville’s Sayaka Smith is the defending state champion and has barely broken a sweat in running off 29 straight wins. Brooklyn Hunter, of the famous Hunter tennis family of Topeka Hayden, is the other expected finalist as she has only one loss. Collegiate’s Lair and Buhler’s Michaela Esau are the other top seeds, though Clay Center teammates Hannah Callan and Chole Gaug are both 24-1, but the Tigers don’t face near the competition of MHS, Collegiate and Buhler.
Smoky Valley will have the 22-9 team of Katie Bellah and Emily Roets hoping for a spot at least in the quarters. Both Viking singles players made it, Ally Karber (17-14) and Kira Haxton (18-14).
Friday’s action starts at 11:30 a.m., with Saturday’s play beginning at 9 a.m.