MAIZE -- Fort Scott High School's doubles team of senior Kalia Dancy and freshman Courtney Crain finished their season with a victory in a consolation match at the Kansas Class 4A State Tennis Tournament here Friday on the courts at Maize South High School.
In the first round, Krysta Weins and Vickie DuKarth of Buhler picked up a 6-1, 6-0 sweep of Dancy and Crain.
"The first match was a tough one, but that was to be expected," Fort Scott head coach Lynn Barr said. "Coming in as a sixth-place finisher, we had to face a third-place finisher in that first match and the Buhler team was a tough opponent.
"We were not as sharp as we were last week at Regionals. I'm sure nerves had something to do with that, with the girls being first-time State qualifiers and the crowd was probably one of the largest I've ever seen at a state tournament. Kalia and Courtney went on the court for this first match right after the opening ceremonies and I think they were still a little overwhelmed by the whole experience during that first match. We played OK at times but Buhler was just too tough."
Weins and DuKarth went on to finish fourth, falling to Ashley Weaver and Madelyn Weaver of Hesston, 6-1, 6-1, in the third-place match.
In the consolation match, Dancy and Crain defeated familiar opponents, Lindsay Ong and Malina Kipp of Parsons, 9-6.
They could advance no farther as entrants must win their first-round match in order to have a chance to medal.
"We came back and played the kind of tennis we had played the week before at the Regional Tournament," Barr said. "I think the girls were much more relaxed going into that match. They had quite a bit of time to regroup and it made a big difference in how they played. Kalia and Courtney came out playing well and were in control throughout the match. They played good solid tennis.
"Courtney played really well and Kalia played the kind of match you like to see a senior end their career with. She has played some of the best tennis of her high school career in these last two tournaments and showed how much she has improved in the last three years."
Wellington won its first State title with 40 points, finishing 9 ahead of Hesston, which was runner-up for the second consecutive season. Defending champ Independence finished third with 22 points.
Bree Honer of Lenexa St. James Academy won the singles crown with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Ali Anderson of Hesston. Defending champion Caitlyn Wark of Colby took third with a 6-3, 6-1 sweep of Wellington's Erianna Adams.
Sarah Ong of Parsons finished in 11th place after a 9-6 win over Sarah Zey of Abilene.
Lexi Hibbs and Kaitlyn Buck of Wellington, who finished third as a duo here last season, claimed the doubles championship with a 6-1, 6-1 sweep of Independence's Ashlee Carr and Kelby McGrath.
McGrath and a different partner finished second last season.
Tyra Welch and Kelsey Porter of Independence won the ninth-place match, 9-8, over Jamie Myers/Jenna Pelter of Topeka Hayden. Kiralyn Mosier and Bailey Riggin of Parsons finished 11th with a 9-0 won over Alex Lindly/Jessica Butler of Winfield.
The State tournament opportunity represents another step in the right direction for the Fort Scott girls' program.
"This trip to State was a great way to end this season," Barr said. "Our team really showed some improvement this season after several really down seasons. We still have a ways to go, but they did start moving us in the right direction. We had a lot of girls who really improved as the season progressed, which is what you expect to happen and it was really great to see so many growing as players this year.
"We lose three seniors who have done a lot for our program during their high school careers in Bailee Hall, Kalia Dancy and Taylor Bailey. But, hopefully, we will have returning players working hard and continuing to improve and they will be able to continue to move our tennis program back in the direction we want it to go."