McPherson High’s shot at catching Wichita Collegiate for the Class 4A State Tennis Tournament title this weekend at Winfield just got a little longer.
With the news that Coffeyville’s undefeated singles player Sayaka Smith is not competing due to a conflict, the Bullpups’ task became a little more difficult.
“We will need all six girls to point if we want a chance at a plaque this year,” said MHS coach Tyler Brown, whose team won it all in 2013, took second in 2014 and tied for third last year.
Smith, 26-0 on the season, reportedly is going on a trip to Japan that happened to coincide with the state tournament. According to Brown, that spot in the tournament is not filled as a top seed will receive a bye to the second round.
Hayden’s defending state champion Brooklyn Hunter is a strong favorite now to win as she’s 19-0. But it opens up the rest of the bracket and Collegiate has two of the best players remaining in Sydney Lair (17-2) and Lauren Conrad (8-2). If both make the semifinals and one makes the finals, that would almost wrap up the title for the Spartans.
McPherson’s Maisie Edmonson is only 13-8, but has played most of the top players around and did take second at last week’s regional. She has often played her best when the competition is its toughest.
The Bullpups’ Rachel Carlson (15-14) was fourth at the regional meet last week and any points she can secure would be a bonus.
The big hope for the Bullpups, of course, is the No. 1 doubles team of Ellea Ediger and Rachel Ivers (19-2). They were second in the state last year to an all-senior team from Wichita Collegiate and their time may be now. Clay Center does have a 9-0 entry in Hanna Fowles and Sally Vallin, while Collegiate has a top team in Greer Cody and Hannah Geoffroy (16-1).
MHS’ other doubles team of Heidi Myers and Taylor Bruce (17-8) probably needs to pull an early upset after finishing fifth at the regional last week.
While Independence, Miege, Winfield and Wellington are all capable, it still figures to come down to the Bullpups and Collegiate.
“We will need to play our very best if we want a chance to catch Collegiate,” Brown said of the team race. “They are outstanding again this year and will be extremely difficult to catch or beat especially if one those that most likely that could of beat them are not playing. If we happen to play them we will have to get the upset.”
The action Friday has an 11:30 a.m. start, with Saturday’s play starting at 9:00 at the T.H. Vaughan Tennis Center.