PHS girls tennis got 5th at CKL on Saturday

By this point in the season, high school tennis seedings are going to be fairly accurate. The Pratt High School girls tennis team showed that on Saturday at the Central Kansas League tournament hosted by Larned.

In the 10-school meet, three of PHS' entries were seeded 5th while one was seeded 3rd. Each of Pratt's entries ended up playing for the place at which they were ranked, attesting to the accuracy of the seeding process in the bracketed tournament.

Pratt ended up 5th in CKL with 48 points. Hesston won with 86 pts. Smoky Valley 77, Larned 70 and Kingman 81 rounded out the top five teams.

Pratt's #1 singles player Julieann McClain took 6th, after coming in seeded #5. She lost to Roe of Kingman 6-0, 6-1; defeated Wiesbeck of Hillsboro 9-8 (1); and fell to Nickerson's Hirsh 9-3 in the 5th place match.

In #2 singles, Erin Jackson followed a similar path through the bracket. Also ranked 5th, Jackson lost to Unruh of Hesston 6-4, 6-3; beat Bryant (Lyons) 9-0; but won her 5th place match over Johnson of Hillsboro 9-4.

Brynn Hampton and Hailey Hewatt carried PHS' highest ranking (3rd) into the #1 doubles competition. They dropped Mooney/Harris (Hoisington) 6-1, 6-4 before losing to Kelty/Leiker (Larned) 6-1, 6-3. In the 3rd place match, the pair fell to Peterson/ Clark of Smoky Valley 6-2, 6-4.

The #2 doubles tandem of Vanessa Leckner/ Rachel Reichenberger was also ranked 5th entering play. They lost to Bowles/ Wright (Smoky Valley) 6-2, 6-2; defeated Flicker/ Londeen (Kingman); and lost to Gamez/ Silva (Lyons) 9-3 in the 5th place match.

"The kids did well and competed well against athletes with similar experience level," said PHS head coach Tate Thompson. "Julieann fought through on an off day and still got 6th. Erin bounced back, winning her last two matches easily over kids that should be at the same level.  She has come a long way since picking up a racquet for the first time this summer."

"Brynn and Hailey were seeded well and won their first match easily, but as the day wore on with 2-3 sets, their performance waned," Thompson continued. "Vanessa and Rachel played consistently at the level they have been playing this season, but they are doing well considering they are beginning players as well."

"In these bracketed tournaments, if you do not win the first match, you can only get 5th place," Coach Thompson pointed out. "Everyone did at least that.  Looking forward, our young team will begin developing over the next few years and our seniors have one more shot at moving on this week at a tough regional."

The Lady Green netters will play this weekend in the Wichita Collegiate regional that has Andover Central, Collegiate and Wellington, among other top tennis schools.