McPherson High girls tennis coach Tyler Brown has seen a lot of state tournaments in his time.
But he can hardly remember one having the depth of this year’s Class 4A event that gets under way on Friday in Pratt.
“The state tournament will be extremely deep,” said Brown, whose Bullpups have qualified all six players as they’ll have two singles entries and two doubles teams.
Brown still sees top-ranked and defending champion Wichita Collegiate as the team favorite, but adds Andover Central may have the best singles player in Liba Cermakova while Arkansas City could have the best doubles team in Kelsie Burr and Chassidy Weathers.
Collegiate, Arkansas City, Independence and Marysville also qualified their entire teams. Buhler and Wellington are sending five players apiece.
This was supposed to be somewhat of a rebuilding year for the Bullpups as they graduated their state championship doubles team of Ellea Ediger and Rachel Ivers, yet the goal for state never changes.
“The goal is still to take home team hardware (for the Top 3), but teams that are Top 5 will have to feel pretty good about themselves,” Brown said. “We need the right draws to happen along with playing our best on Friday — and hopefully Saturday.”
MHS’ best bet may come in doubles as Maisie Edmonson and Taylor Bruce (16-2) were easily the regional champions last Saturday. The Bullpups have a second entry of Ashley Achilles and Cheyann Williams (8-5) that hopes to knock off a high seed early.
Doubles champions last week were Burr and Weathers (31-2), along with Sydney Lair and Hannah Geoffroy of Collegiate (15-2), Holly Holthaus and Avery Williams of Marysville (23-10) and the MHS team of Edmonson and Bruce.
In singles, MHS’ CeAnna Allen and Rachel Carlson had a 2-3 regional finish, which means they should get a decent draw. Both are 10-8 on the season.
Regional singles champs last week were Cermakova (15-3), Brooklyn Hunter of Topeka Hayden (17-0), Lyssa Schabel of Independence (31-4) and Kaylin Beswick of Abilene (25-5), who defeated Allen in the Smoky Valley regional finals.