Rei Tsuyuki was surprised at the size of the sectional championship trophy.
The foreign-exchange student from Japan is at Richmond High School for just one year and had never seen one before.
But most others weren’t as surprised; the Red Devils have made a habit of bringing the hardware to Richmond.
For a fourth-straight year, Richmond is sectional champion in girls tennis.
For a fourth straight year, senior Peyton Young got the Red Devils rolling at No. 1 singles.
And another senior, Kaitlin Kramer, enjoyed a special moment by wrapping up the title for the IHSTeCA District 4-ranked Red Devils.
Young, Tsuyuki and Kramer swept singles matches to help District No. 6 Richmond sweep District No. 8 Centerville 5-0 Friday at the Richmond High School tennis courts.
Young won 6-0, 6-1 at No. 1, Tsuyuki 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 and Kramer clinched the title with a 6-0, 6-1 victory at No. 3.
“It was really great for my senior year to get the final one for this,” Kramer said. “It’s fantastic that we were able to do it four years in a row, and it’s a really big deal for us to be able to finish it out these last four years.”
Richmond will host Shenandoah, winner of the New Castle sectional, Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Rushville plays the winner of the South Dearborn sectional, with the regional final scheduled for Wednesday.
“I think we kind of knew we were the favorite coming in, but on the one hand, you’ve got to take care of business and we did. And all through the season, we haven’t beat ourselves, and that’s what we did today,” Richmond coach Randy Hollingsworth said. “We got a lot of balls in play — we’re not a fancy team by any means — but we get a lot of balls in play and we don’t beat ourselves.”
Emma Lady and Krissy Kramer avenged a regular-season loss to Centerville’s Lizzy Walther and Shelby Good, defeating the Bulldog duo 6-1, 6-4 at No. 2 doubles, while Cami Jones and Kaitlyn Harrison completed the sweep with a 6-3, 6-1 victory at No. 1 doubles.
Young is now 79-11 in her career as a No. 1 singles player.
“I’m really excited, because this is four trophies that we have for our case and I’ve been a part of each one of them,” Young said.
Tsuyuki, a native of Nagoya, Japan, is now 22-0 on the season.
“(The sectional trophy) was very big. I was surprised to see that. I like that,” she said. ” … I was a little bit nervous at the beginning of the match, but it was OK.”
It’s the 25th sectional title for Richmond and the 10th since the turn of the century. The Red Devils also have 10 regional crowns, including titles in 2004, 2006 and 2008.
“We’re really looking forward to regionals this year. We think we might be able to make it out if we really just stick to it and play well,” Kaitlin Kramer said. “It’s our goal this entire season to make it to semistate, so we’re really looking forward to finishing out the regional and seeing how well we can do there.”
Centerville finishes 16-2, a school record for victories, according to head coach Randy Ecker. The Bulldogs won the Tri-Eastern Conference title for a fifth straight season. The Bulldogs went 7-0 in TEC duals and won the TEC tournament to win the title outright for the third time in the five-year span. They shared the crown twice with Northeastern after the Knights won the tournament in 2012 and 2013.
“Hopefully we can learn from this, but we had a great season,” Ecker said. “They finished 16-2, which is a school record for number of wins, they won the conference outright, and so, we build on those positives.”
Ecker said Good and Walther finished 15-3, Shelby Minhinnett went 19-5 at No. 2 singles and Brittany Jones was 17-6 at No. 1 singles.
Jones and No. 1 doubles player Jordan VanWinkle are seniors. VanWinkle plays with Merissa Ross.
“My freshmen, they’re new at tennis, so we’re very inexperienced,” Ecker said. “Jordan, this is just her second year even hitting a ball and this was just her first full varsity season. So when I look at it that way, and Lexi (Stamper, No. 3 singles player) moved from doubles to singles, and we lost our 3 to another school, so all those things considered, I thought the girls did a good job, had a nice season.”