Statistics don’t always tell the whole story, but when the Greenback girls’ tennis team hit the road at 5:30 a.m. for the always-tough Garden City Invitational, they began piling up the stats that would culminate with #1.
Here are a few numbers to crunch: 275 miles traveled; 17 hours door-to-door; 14 schools; 10 hours on the courts; 120 total matches (19 for Pratt); 50 team points; 1 Greenback team championship.
Still relishing the surprise outcome, Pratt High coach Larry Kahmeyer said, “I’ve got to say that winning the team championship never entered my mind when we left Pratt in the rain and darkness Saturday morning. I’d set a goal of a top-five finish, but as the day unfolded, the girls…all of them…played some amazing tennis to secure the “Gold Buffalo” championship medals. It was a very satisfying win and, if ever there was a team effort, this was it. It required the best effort from every player.”
As the smoke cleared, Pratt and Maize South were tied at 50 points apiece, but because Pratt defeated Maize South two out of three head-to-head matches, the Greenbacks claimed the top spot. Great Bend was 3rd with 48, followed by Garden City White (39), Meade (33), Hays (31), Ulysses (25), Dodge City and Colby (24), Scott City (10), Cimarron (20), Wichita West (19), Liberal (17), and Garden City Brown (12).
Both of Pratt single’s players faced some tough competition, but finished exactly where they were seeded.
At the #1 singles spot, Jade Hoover earned the 5th seed and went 4-2 to earn 10 critical points. Defeating Colby 8-3 in the first round, Hoover fell in the second to Meade’s 4th seed in an 8-7 (7-3) tiebreaker. On the backside, Hoover went on to defeat Cimarron 8-1 and Scott City 8-0. Facing a strong three-seed player from Great Bend, Hoover played great tennis but fell 8-1. In the match for 5th, Hoover again faced Colby and this time cruised to an easier 8-0 for 5th, matching her seed.
Ellie Brehm secured the third seed based on a decent record and, like Hoover, matched her seed in the final standings. Defeating Garden City Brown 8-2 and Liberal 8-2, Brehm faced the second seed from Maize South. Giving some of her best effort of the season, Brehm lost 8-2, then recovered to win out the consolation bracket defeating Hays 8-4 and Garden City White 8-1. For her effort, Brehm earned 12 of Pratt’s total points.
The doubles teams were spotless, each winning all four matches and earning 14 points each for the #1 finishes.
Seeded third at the #1 position, partners Lauren McClain and Dani Williams exceeded expectations and won out to pocket gold. The victims included Garden City Brown 8-0, Meade 2-0, injury default, Maize South 8-4, and Garden City White 8-5 for the championship.
Page 2 of 2 - Allicia Hall and Elee Hampton, also seeded third, claimed the top spot in similar fashion, defeating Garden City Brown 8-2, Scott City 8-0, Garden City White 8-1, and Maize South 8-6.
The Maize South victory, while the most challenging on the day, was also the most satisfying as it avenged an earlier loss to the same team.
“I can’t say enough about how well the girls played,” said Kahmeyer. “They won 16 of 19 matches and it took every one to wrap up first. We avenged two previous losses to Maize South and all the girls matched or exceeded their seeds. Every girl played their best tennis of the season and I couldn’t be happier with how they worked together as a team. I’m most pleased with their gutsy effort; the first place finish is just the icing on top.”