SALINA — Tyler Brown has been around tennis a long time both as a player and coach.
Saturday, though, he saw things he’d never seen before.
Some unforeseen happenings played a part Saturday in the Bullpups taking the championship of the Salina Central Invitational, as Class 4A’s No. 2-ranked team finished ahead of Class 5A’s No. 2-ranked team, Arkansas City, 105-89.
“The tournament was extremely exciting. In all my years coaching I saw things happen that typically never happen in high school tennis,” Brown said. “I saw a No. 2 seed get upset in the second round of the singles draw. I also saw the No. 3 seed get upset in the first round of the doubles draw. These kind of things just don't happen in tennis. Both these upsets helped us make our way through the draw.”
The Bullpups’ Ellea Ediger, however, didn’t need any help. She charged through the singles bracket unscathed to repeat as the champion of this tournament. She blasted Goddard’s Sydney Lefevre 8-1 in the lopsided finals.
“Ellea Ediger as always was our rock,” Brown said. “She only dropped two games the entire day. She won 8-0, 8-1, 8-0, 8-0 and 8-1. She exhibited total domination. But at the beginning of the tournament I thought for sure it would be her and Mary Kate Rielley from Bishop Miege in the finals. But Mary Kate was one with a shocking upset in the second round. Mary Kate had beaten Ellea in the quarterfinals of her sophomore year 6-2, 6-4, so I thought that was going to be the showdown that Saturday evening. It just goes to show you though that whoever you find yourself playing you always have a chance.”
The Bullpups had a tremendous showing in doubles. Rachel Ivers and Maisie Edmonson finished second after having defeated teammates Heidi Myers and Taylor Bruce in the semifinals. Myers and Bruce took fourth place for some valuable points.
“Our No. 2 doubles team of Heidi and Taylor would of had to play the No. 3 seed in the second round, but instead were able to play the team that upset the high seed (No. 3) and was able to capitalize on it beating Lawrence Free State 8-2,” Brown said. “And then beat a tough Salina Central team as well as finding themselves playing our other McPherson doubles team Ivers and Edmonson in the semifinals. Ivers and Edmonson did exactly what they were supposed to. They were seeded No. 2 and finished second to a very good Ark City team.”
Rachel Carlson made her first varsity appearance and was 22nd in singles.
“The freshman didn't disappoint, finishing around the middle of the field,” Brown said. “She finished 22nd out of a 32 (player) draw. She was right where we needed her to be. She gained valuable experience being able to compete in an open draw as a freshman in a tournament of that magnitude.”
Salina Central, the No. 4 team in Class 5A, was third with 85 points while Maize was fourth with 82.
Rounding it out were Salina South (79), Free State (78), Goddard (70), Maize South (59), Pittsburg (56), Hutchinson (52), Salina Central B (51), Miege (42), Valley Center (41), Topeka West (21), Newton (19) and Hays (13).