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Doubles duo breaks State drought

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

(Photo)
Fort Scott freshman Courtney Crain (left) and senior Kalia Dancy have qualified to play doubles in the Class 4A State Tennis Tournament, which begins Friday at Maize South High School's courts. The Tiger duo are the first girls' players to qualify for State in nine years.
(Scott Nuzum/Tribune)
It's been nine years since Fort Scott High School's girls' tennis program has had a qualifier for the State Tournament. But last weekend at Parsons, senior Kalia Dancy and freshman Courtney Crain broke the drought with their sixth-place finish in doubles at the Chanute Class 4A Regional Tournament.

"We were so excited," Dancy said of qualifying. "We were hugging everybody."

Dancy and Crain will play in the Class 4A State Tournament this weekend on the courts at Maize South High School which is a northwest Wichita suburb.

The pair have not played as many matches together as some of the teams they will face at State but have played as a team in the last four tournaments.

"We were really surprised because we hadn't played very much this year with each other," Crain said, "We were really surprised and we were really glad because we've worked really hard on it."

The pair seem to be ready to see what the competition holds at the State Tournament and they are looking forward to the experience.

"I think it's kind of exciting just to see who else is out there," Dancy said. "I wasn't expecting State but now that we're there, it's really exciting."

Crain has played mostly doubles this season. Dancy is her fourth partner.

"It took a lot of time to get to know each other's strengths and weaknesses but I think we've got it pretty well down now," Crain said.

Dancy is a senior and tennis is her only sport, so her high-school athletic career will end at this tournament.

"It's exciting," Dancy says of the opportunity. "I wasn't expecting State but now that we're there, it's really exciting."

Crain, as a freshman, wasn't expecting the kind of success she's found.

"I didn't even expect to get on varsity, to tell you the truth, this year," Crain said. "Because I came here and I was so in awe of the really good people on our team. (When) we got State and I was like 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to State as a freshman.' It was just really overwhelming. I'm very excited."

The Tiger duo hopes to perform well enough to show that they deserved the opportunity to play at the State level.

"I definitely want to win our first game," Dancy says.

"I think just kind of see what's out there first and mainly have fun with it, try our hardest," Crain said. "That's really all we can do."


State Tournament Notes

Defending team champion: Independence. Hesston was second and Topeka Hayden finished third.

Defending singles champion: Caitlyn Wark, Colby, def. Lexi Hertling, Topeka-Hayden, 6-3, 7-5, in the finals. Independence's Katie Porter, who was a senior, beat Wellington's Erianne Adams for third place. Wark finished with a 36-0 record; she and Adams return this season. Wark is a senior with a 17-8 record while Adams is a junior with a 25-10 record. Although Hertling was a junior last season, she does not return to State this year.

Defending doubles champion: Stephanie Shogren/Madelyn Weaver, Hesston, def. Lexi Hibbs/Kaitlyn Buck, Wellington, 7-5, 6-2 in the finals to finish with a record of 35-2. Independence's Morgan Baxter and Kelby McGrath defeated teammates Bayley Conner and Ashlee Carr in the third-place match. Weaver, a senior, returns and is paired with sister Ashley, a junior. They are 16-6 this season. Hibbs and Buck, both seniors, return with a 29-5 record. McGrath and Carr, 27-4, both seniors, are paired together this season and have the highest winning percentage in the field.

SEK in singles: Parsons junior Sarah Ong has the best record in the field at 32-4. Independence junior Lexi Dent is 21-10. Labette County junior Katie Anderson qualified with a record of 25-9.

SEK in doubles (Aside from McGrath and Carr): Fort Scott senior Kalia Dancy and freshman Courtney Crain have a 7-10 record together. Indy sophomore Kelsey Porter and freshman Tyra Welch are 18-3. Parsons juniors Kiralyn Mosier and Bailey Riggin are 15-8. Parsons senior Lindsay Ong and sophomore Malina Kipp are 12-3. Chanute sophomores Madison Wendt and Jade Gardner are 16-15.

Other notes: Crain and Welch are two of six freshmen in the tournament. Three of the other four qualified in singles from the Pratt Regional....Southeast Kansas League schools have won four of the last five State team titles. Parsons won in 2005 while Independence also won in 2006, 2008 and 2009....The most a school can qualify is two singles and two doubles entries, which only Wellington and Topeka-Hayden accomplished....23 schools are represented....Host Maize South has three entrants, two in singles....


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WAY TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Posted by 3DN74 on Wed, Oct 13, 2010, at 8:20 AM

We are so proud of you and all our athletes

-- Posted by Citizen4change on Wed, Oct 13, 2010, at 9:35 AM

How awesome!!! And two great girls to represent out school!!!!WAY TO GO!!!

-- Posted by turning3 on Wed, Oct 13, 2010, at 12:14 PM


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