HESSTON — Tyler Brown could not have asked for a better start.
Going up against a field of potential state tennis placers, Brown’s McPherson High girls nipped another Class 4A power, Smoky Valley, to win the Hesston Invitational on Thursday.
MHS scored 24 points to shade the Vikings, who had 23. Hesston, the defending Class 3-2-1A champion, was third with 21 and Buhler rounded out the top half with 16.
Maize South was fifth with 15, with the rest of the teams including Abilene (12), Trinity Academy (5) and Haven (0).
“Glad we opened with a team win,” Brown said. “The field was very good. If Hesston would happen to come up to 4A we may of had our regional tournament the first tournament of the year. All in all we got the job done in an extremely talented field. Great start to the season,”
The Bullpups rode the championship performance of No. 1 doubles team Ellea Ediger and Rachel Ivers. Last year’s Class 4A runners-up lost only five games in three matches, winning 8-3 in the finals against Buhler’s Katie Nachtigal and Michaela Esau.
Also for the Bullpups, both singles entries took second. Maisie Edmonson played No. 1 and Taylor Bruce, a freshman, played No. 2. Both were 2-1.
“I was impressed with the freshman. She is a gamer,” Brown said of Bruce. “She seems to be one of those players that rises to the occasion in tournament play.”
Heidi Myers and Ashley Achilles were fourth at No. 2 doubles as MHS finished in the upper half of every division.
“Myers and Achilles gained valuable experience in their matches losing 8-7 (8-6) in the semifinals and 8-6 in the third-place match,” Brown said. “They have the talent that on another day they could very well could have won the No. 2 doubles division.”
For Smoky Valley, the No. 2 doubles team of Meredith Galloway and Tegan Miller took first while newcomer Sophie Smith won No. 2 singles. The Vikings’ No. 1 doubles team of Katie Bellah and Emily Roets, who took fifth in Class 4A last year, lost in the first round, but they came back strong to drop only one game in their final two matches.
Hesston was led by standout Morgan Holopirek, who lost only one game in winning the No. 1 singles division. She defeated McPherson’s Edmonson 8-1 in the finals.