McPherson High’s road to a girls tennis state championship repeat starts on Friday with the first day of the Class 4A Regional Tournament at the MHS Tennis Complex.
The action begins at 10:30 a.m., before resuming at 10 a.m. Saturday with the semifinals, finals and consolations. The top six singles entries and top six doubles teams move on to Winfield for the state event next weekend.
The Bullpups, who raised state championship banner No. 50 in school history last year, have been entrenched in the No. 1 spot in 4A all season and, of course, their prospects of a repeat start here as they hope to again qualify all six players.
Other teams on hand include Abilene, Buhler, Chapman, Clay Center, Concordia, Hays and Smoky Valley.
“I think as a team we should do well,” MHS coach Tyler Brown said. “Buhler has one of the best doubles teams (Jessica Steffen and Kendra Nachtigal), so they will push both of our teams. I believe they will be seeded No. 2 in our regional. They are capable of beating our No. 1s and did so last year, but we have only played them once this year and won. So hopefully we will be ready for them. Smoky Valley has a very good doubles team as well.
“As for singles, Hays has a girl that is not bad along with Abilene, Chapman and Smoky Valley. I do believe we are capable of qualifying all six girls just as long as they play to their potential and keep the unforced errors to a minimum.”
MHS’ Ellea Ediger, second in 4A singles last year, is a strong favorite. She could get a push from teammate Katlyn Reifschneider, who was cleared to return to action on Monday after missing some time with a sore shoulder and Brown said she looks as though she hasn’t missed a beat.
In doubles, the Bullpups boast the defending state champions in Camry Holle and Emily Ediger, but they’ll have a target on their back. Brown is hoping his other team of Madison Hoffman and Rachel Ivers can finish high to punch their ticket with a good seed.
“I don't feel the teams in our regional have the depth like we do, but every school may have a singles player or doubles team that can be a threat to us,” Brown said. “But I'm predicting both my No. 1s and No. 2s will be seeded fairly high.”