Two local teams and one local individual advanced to the upcoming MHSAA girls’ state tennis championships following stellar outings in regional action on Thursday and Friday.
The teams headed to the May 31-June 1 state finals are Lakeview in Division 2 and Harper Creek in Division 3, and the individual who qualified for D-2 state was Gull Lake’s No. 1 singles player, senior Sara Remynse.
Lakeview’s state finals berth, as well as Remynse’s, came at a regional on Friday at Portage Central High.
Host Portage Central won the team title with 23 points, and 10th-ranked Lakeview was a close second with 22.
Gull Lake didn’t garner enough points to qualify as a team for state at the P-Central site, but Remynse — the No. 1-ranked player in the state who is headed to the University of Michigan — cruised to the No. 1 singles title.
Remynse defeated a Portage Northern opponent 6-0, 6-0 in the quarterfinals; defeated Lakeview junior Rachael Hager 6-1, 6-0 in the semifinals; and then topped a P-Central opponent 6-0, 6-0 in the title match.
Coach Mike McGinnis’ Lakeview team is headed back to state again — the Spartans finished ninth last spring — after his No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 doubles duos all won flight titles, all over tandems from P-Central.
Junior Maddy Drikakis and junior Alisha Horan were victorious at No. 1 doubles; seniors Jordan McCann and Esther Sang at No. 3; and senior Hannah Aimesbury and junior Maddie Schimpf at No. 4.
Also for Lakeview, the No. 2 doubles unit of junior Kathleen Wendt and sophomore Julia Ryan lost to P-Central in the finals; and all four of the Spartans’ singles players — No. 1 junior Hager, No. 2 junior Ami Kato, No. 3 sophomore Anne Sangliana and No. 4 freshman Ellie Denison — made it to the semifinal round before being ousted.
“I kind of had it all down on paper how things should go before the meet … and after all was said and done, even with all the strong schools there from the Grand Rapids and Zeeland and Kalamazoo areas, every one of my kids did exactly what we needed for them to do for us to make it back to state. The girls did just a terrific job,” McGinnis said.
“It was close all day between us and Portage Central for first overall … but we did everything we could have control over to get close to finishing first before coming up one point short at the end. Still, it was a great job overall by our team to finish second in such a strong regional, and I’m really proud of all the girls.”
Harper Creek’s berth into the D-3 state championships came on Thursday, when the Beavers placed second at a regional at Vicksburg. Edwardsburg placed first as a team with 22 points, Harper Creek was second with 18.
A year earlier, Harper Creek missed out on a trip to the state meet by a single point. On Thursday, though, the Beavers had three flight champions.
At No. 2 singles, senior and top seed Lexi Latshaw defeated Edwardsburg’s Hayle Jones 6-1, 6-4 in the title match. She earlier posted wins over Three Rivers and Sturgis opponents.
At No. 3 singles, sister Kendall Latshaw, a sophomore, defeated Lakeshore’s Lily Brandy in the championship match by injury default. Earlier, Kendall defeated opponents from Vicksburg and Edwardsburg.
Last season, by the way, the Latshaw sisters won the No. 1 doubles flight at regionals.
And also winning a flight for Harper Creek on Thursday was the No. 3 doubles duo of juniors Mackenzie Crumpton and Page Brady, who defeated Edwardsburg 6-2, 7-6 (3) for the title. Earlier, the duo defeated pairs from Stevensville-Lakeshore and Niles.
Also in doubles for Harper Creek, sophomore Kirsten Murphy and Emma Moore lost to Edwardsburg in the No. 4 final and juniors Karlee Hancock and Courtney Gilmore lost in the quarterfinal round at No. 1.
Also singles-wise for Harper Creek, senior Nicole Gilbert lost in the quarterfinal round at No. 1; and freshman Keely Cruz lost in the semifinal round at No. 4.
Marshall and Coldwater competed at the D-3 regional at Vicksburg. The Redhawks had one flight champion, as Marshall’s No. 2 doubles duo of Olivia Olmstead and Chandler Veich topped tandems from Sturgis, S-L and Edwardsburg for the crown.
* In D-1 on Thursday at Holland, Battle Creek Central did not have any flight champions.
* In D-3 on Friday at Allegan, Pennfield did not qualify for state as a team, and had one player reach the semifinals before falling — senior Harley Turner at No. 1 singles.
* And, in D-4 on Friday in a regional played at Pennfield and Kellogg Community College, Jackson Lumen Christi was first with 25 points, Kalamazoo Christian was second with 22 and St. Philip was among those tied for third with 13 points. Also, Galesburg-Augusta had four points, and Bronson had two. St. Philip junior Abriana Burrill made it the furthest among the local competitors, falling to Lumen Christi 6-2, 6-1 in the title match at No. 4 singles. Also, at No. 2 doubles for St. Philip, sophomore Annie Newton and senior Ann Marie Sweeney made it to the semifinals before falling 6-7, 7-5, 6-4 to K-Chrisitian.