Emerson Walsh takes his first steps to singles final in Kentucky tennis tournament

Emerson Walsh takes his first steps to singles final in Kentucky tennis tournament

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Emerson Walsh takes his first steps to singles final in Kentucky tennis tournament

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LEXINGTON, Ky.

After three seasons of success in doubles play, Emerson Walsh is enjoying his final year of high school tennis on the singles circuit.

Walsh, a Trinity High School senior, is the No. 2 seed and cruised through his first two matches during a rainy Thursday at the KHSAA State Tournament.

Walsh beat Oneida Baptist junior Barnabas Kim 6-0, 6-0 in a first-round match at Shillito Park and knocked off Lone Oak freshman Logan McKinney 6-0, 6-1 in second-round play at the Lexington Tennis Center.

The latter match was moved indoors after a rain delay that had Kentucky High School Athletic Association officials scrambling to find dry courts. Along with using indoor courts in Lexington, some matches were moved to Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.

“It’s a pain, but you get used to it,” said Walsh, whose second-round match was scheduled to begin at 2:15 p.m. but started three hours later. “It would have been so much better if it was all outside at (the University of Kentucky). I love the way it’s run over there.”

Walsh has enjoyed plenty of success there. As a freshman (with Rob Torsch) and a sophomore (with Randy Strause), Walsh reached the semifinals in doubles. Walsh and Strause lost in the state doubles final last year, falling to Kentucky Country Day’s Collier Bouchillon and Matt Browne 6-4, 6-4.

Walsh said he played singles for much of his first three seasons before moving to doubles for postseason play.

“I didn’t mind it at all,” he said. “I loved playing doubles and we did well. It was definitely worth it.”

He’s played singles exclusively as a senior, with his only loss to a Kentucky opponent coming against St. Xavier’s Sean Donohue 7-6, 6-1. Donohue, the defending state champion, is the No. 1 seed in singles could meet Walsh in Saturday afternoon’s final.

Walsh said he would be disappointed if he doesn’t reach the championship match.

“The reason I’m playing singles is to win State,” he said.

Trinity coach Chris Mather described Walsh as an “old-fashioned” player who is as dangerous with his mind as he is with his racquet.

“He’s a very cerebral competitor,” Mather said. “You’ll see him switch strategies or something in the middle of a match because he can. He’ll serve and volley the whole match, and the next match he’s grinding out baseline points.”

Walsh comes from a tennis family. His father, Kevin, played professionally and is a member of the U of L Athletic Hall of Fame. His brother, Spencer, played tennis and swam at Trinity and now attends Georgetown University.

Both Kevin and Spencer ranked No. 1 in their graduating classes at Trinity. Despite a 4.0 GPA, Emerson ranks No. 4 in a class of about 320.

“I’m not saying it’s a disappointment,” Emerson Walsh said with a laugh, “but I wanted to finish No. 1.”

Walsh will attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he plans to study engineering and play for the NCAA Division III school’s nationally ranked tennis program.

“I think it will be a good fit, with athletics and academics,” he said. “They’ll have a great chance of winning a national title, and I’d like to help with that.”

* Note: The boys’ team final between St. Xavier and Lone Oak was postponed until today at 6 p.m. The girls’ team final matching Sacred Heart against Lone Oak is also today at 6 p.m.

Boys’ singles

First round

(1) Sean Donohue, St. Xavier, d. Jin Woo Jeong, Oneida Baptist, 6-0, 6-0; Alex Spalding, Marion County, d. Luke Brooks, Pineville, 6-7, 6-2, 10-5; (9) David Hess, Manual, d. Hunter Pierce, Casey County, 6-0, 6-0; Steven Mayborg, South Oldham, d. Michael Thomas, Grayson County, 6-2, 6-4; (5) Gus Benson, Model, d. Jake Estep, Lawrence County, 6-0, 6-1; Conner Maquet, Corbin, d. Ian Rowe, Clark County, 6-3, 6-2; (9) Tanner Love, Trinity, d. Blake Nelson, Greenwood, 6-4, 6-2; Matthew Eastman, Russell, d. Clint Joiner, Caldwell County, 6-1, 6-0.

(3) Austin Hussey, Covington Catholic, d. Daniel Lineberry, Atherton, 6-1, 6-2; Kenny Wilson, South Warren, d. Patrick Cordero, Pikeville, 6-3, 6-2; (9) Alex Dubiller, Henry Clay, d, Quaid Girten, Union County, 6-0, 6-2; Preston Kohls, Calvary Christian, d. Sam Hodgson, Montgomery County, 6-4, 4-6, 10-7; (5) Will True, Bowling Green, d. Steven Gadd, Berea, 6-3, 6-0; Ben Emery, Highlands, d. Tyler Edlin, John Hardin, 6-1, retired (injury); (9) C.J. Glaser, Owensboro Catholic, d. Luke Least, Woodford County, 6-0, 6-3; Robby Berry, Ashland Blazer, d. Preston O’Donley, Lone Oak, 6-1, 0-6, 10-6.

Raul Martinez, Caldwell County, d. Trevor Freeman, Estill County, 6-1, 6-1; (9) Jordan Pitts, South Oldham, d. Alex Nguyen, Russell, 6-2, 6-1; Tyler Kilambi, North Oldham, d. Ryan Abell, LaRue County, 6-1, 6-4; (5) Collier Bouchillon, KCD, d. Matt Hammond, 6-1, 6-0; L.J. Allara, Pikeville, d. Simon Robinson, Letcher County Central, 6-0, 6-0; (9) Ryo Takeda, Henry Clay, d. Jacob Crowell, Mercer County, 6-0, 6-1; Brit Bowling, Clay County, d. Bennett Wilson, daviess County, 6-3, 6-2; (4) Brandon Lancaster, St. Xavier, d. Wes Averill, 6-0, 6-0.

Laine Harrett, Covington Catholic, d. Vivek Shah, University Heights, 6-2, 6-2; (9) Danny Butcher, Whitley County, d. Billy Adams, Greenwood, 6-0, 6-0; Henry Collett, Western Hills, d. Ted Skaggs, Central Hardin, 7-5, 4-6, 10-8; (5) David Bush, Rose Hill, d. Jacob Markley, Harrison County, 6-0, 6-1; Brock Sigler, Paducah Tilghman, d. A.J. Berk, Scott, 7-6 (2), 6-3; (9) Daniel Chopovsky, Manual, d. Caleb Buckman, Owensboro Catholic, 6-0, 6-0; Logan McKinney, Lone Oak, d. Sam Jackson, Berea, 5-7, 7-5, 10-8; (2) Emerson Walsh, Trinity, d. Barnabas Kim, Oneida Baptist, 6-0, 6-0.

Second round

(1) Donohue d. Spalding, 6-1, 6-0; (9) Hess d. Mayborg, 6-3, 7-5; (5) Benson d. Maquet, 6-1, 6-1; (9) Love d. Eastham, 6-3, 6-1; (3) Hussey d. Wilson, 6-0, 6-0; (9) Dubiller d. Kohls, 6-2, 6-1; (5) True d. Emery, 6-1, 6-1; Berry d. (9) Glaser, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 10-4; (9) Pitts d. Martinez, 6-0, 6-1; (5) Bouchillon d. Kilambi, 6-1, 6-0; (9) Takeda d. Allara 6-3, 6-1; (4) Lancaster d. Bowling 6-0, 6-0; (9) Butcher d. Harrett, 6-0, 6-0; (5) Bush d. Collett, 6-1, 6-0; (9) Chopovsky d. Sigler, 6-1, 6-3; (2) Walsh d. McKinney, 6-0, 6-1.

Girls’ singles

First round

(1) Kennedy Womack, Fairview, d. Haley Owens, Casey County, 6-0, 6-0; Madison Ward, Mason County, d. Kennidi Damron, Knott County, 7-5, 3-6, 10-8; (9) Caitlyn Conyers, Montgomery County, d. Kelsey O’Bryan, Presentation, 6-0, 6-1; Risa Sonada, Paducah Tilghman, d. Anna Davidson, Oneida Baptist, 6-1, 6-0; (5) Neha Rao, South Laurel, d. Caroline Krumme, Notre Dame, 6-0, 6-1; Madelyn Kauffman, Lone Oak, d. Emily Novak, Central Hardin, 6-1, 6-4; (9) Cassie Pennington, Greenwood, d. Rhegan Riggs, 6-1, 6-0; Sarah Holbrook, Union County, d. Lexi Bowling, Magoffin County, 6-3, 6-4.

(3) Madeline Rolph, Sayre, d. Kloe Freeman, University Heights, 6-0, 6-0; Emily Zelichenok, Manual, d. Chandra Taylor, Glasgow, 6-2, 6-0; (9) Christen Puckett, Lexington Christian, d. Annie Wetzel, Caldwell County, 6-1, 6-2; Lauran Berger, Elizabethtown, d. Katie Bruner, Hancock County, 6-3, 6-1; (5) Abbie Mather, Assumption, d. Ellie Jane Carloftis, Corbin, 6-0, 6-0; Carley Lucas, Ryle, d. Jordan Gardner, Barren County, 6-2, 6-4; (9) Grace Jennings, Christian Academy, d. Natalie Dearen, South Oldham, 6-1, 6-0; Madison Hill, Greenup County, d. Brooke Warden, Dixie Heights, 6-3, 7-6 (3).

Stephanie Hayden, Owensboro Catholic, d. Sophia Tumska, Harrison County, 6-3, 1-6, 10-8; (9) Alexis Austin, Collegiate, d. Callee Marcum, Pikeville, 6-0, 6-0; Aspen Jarrett, Oldham County, d. Lori Singleton, Pike Central, 6-0, 6-2; (9) Julian Mok, Sayre, d. Laura Ross, Daviess County, 6-0, 6-1; Eva Borders, St. Francis, d. Riley Keys, Central Hardin, 6-1, 6-0; Natalie Fiepke, Elizabethtown, d. Taylor Moyers, Middlesboro, 6-1, 6-0; Lauren Fazenbaker, Ashland Blazer, d. Tylyn Leigh, Casey County, 6-0, 6-0; (4) Ellie Gerlach, Christian Academy, d. Micah Leslie, Greenup County, 6-0, 6-0.

Juliana Spanova, Manual, d. Mackenzie Elkins, Bowling Green, 6-2, 6-2; (9) Steffi Pitts, South Oldham, d. Brittany Wright, Letcher County Central, 6-0, 6-1; Megan Beischel, Notre Dame, d. Emily Whitnell, Graves County, 6-4, 4-6, 10-4; (5) Michelle McKamey, Lone Oak, d. Kate Phelps, Caldwell County, 6-0, 6-0; Grace Gorby, Grayson County, d. Shelby Hay, Lawrence County, 4-6, 6-2, 10-5; (9) Shae Henry, Henry Clay, d. Erin Pigman, Mercer County, 6-0, 6-1; Catherine Crawford, Corbin, d. Emily Major, Garrard County, 6-1, 6-2; (2) Meredith Laskey, Highlands, d. Natalie Morton, Hazard, 6-0, 6-0.

Second round

(1) Womack d. Ward, 6-0, 6-2; Sonada d. (9) Conyers, 7-5, 3-6, 10-5; (5) Rao d. Kauffman, 6-2, 6-3; (9) Pennington d. Holbrook, 6-1, 6-3; (3) Rolph d. Zelichenok, 6-1, 6-1; (9) Puckett d. Berger 6-0, 6-0; (5) Mather d. Lucas, 6-1, 6-1; (9) Jennings d. Hill, 6-0, 6-1; (9) Austin d. Hayden 6-0, 6-4; (5) Mok d. Jarrett, 6-0, 6-1; Borders d. Fiepke, 7-5, 6-4; (4) Gerlach d. Fazenbaker, 6-2, 6-1; (9) Pitts d. Spanova, 6-3, 6-1; (5) McKamey d. Beischel, 6-1, 6-1; (9) Henry d. Gorby, 6-2, 6-0; (2) Laskey d. Crawford, 6-0, 6-0.

(Doubles results not complete at press time)

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Emerson Walsh takes his first steps to singles final in Kentucky tennis tournament
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