Central Louisiana will be well represented at the LHSAA state tennis tournament, thanks to many qualifying performances in regional tournaments.
Tennis athletes from Bolton, Menard, Grace Christian, Leesville, Alexandria Senior High and Pineville all punched their tickets to state in the hopes that they can be called state champions.
The Lady Bruins’ doubles team of Sara Head and Alyssa Urbi captured first place after winning five matches — defeating the Nos. 1 and 2 seeded doubles teams from Evangel.
Joining Head and Urbi were the boys doubles team of Pranav Bhargava and Brady Laborde, who finished second in their bracket. Also qualifying for the state meet are the doubles team of Zachery Gordon and Austin Steepleton, after a run to the semifinals, and singles qualifier Ted Ratcliff.
“Our entire team showed great sportsmanship and provided immense competition,” Bolton assistant Christine Head said. “Tennis, like many sports, requires strategy and commitment. Our four finalists went above and beyond our expectations of them and have proven themselves as true athletes.”
At the Alexandria Aquatic Club, Menard continued a pair of impressive streaks as the boys team won regionals for the eighth season in a row and the girls won their seventh regional title in eight years.
Senior Kit Cicardo teamed up with Kolton Acuna to win the boys doubles division in a close finals match against teammates Jake Urbina and Michael Simpson.
In all, 15 Eagles qualified for the LHSAA tournament, including Katherine Vaughn and Drew Fontenot, who were both regional singles finalists.
In its second season, Grace Christian improved its showing from a year ago as five Warriors advanced to state.
Sophomore Lindsey Chambley and seventh-grader Jada Lewis qualified once again for state, while the doubles team of Mackensie Maynor and Macy Hartgrove, along with freshman Logan Cheek are going to state for the first time.
“I am pleased and proud of our young team at Grace Christian,” Warriors coach Jeff Hutchinson said. “The team is a pleasure to coach and I see a bright competitive future as we grow to our full potential.”
ASH qualified eight athletes as the teams of Lily Dorian and Brianna Serret, along with Ben Bradford and Jacob Kyle made it as doubles’ pair. Abbie Bradford, Lauren Fuller, Nick Hebert and Beau Crenshaw will represent the school as singles competitors.
Pineville qualified eight as Erika Myers led the way by defeating No. 1 seeded Abi Antis of West Monroe 6-3, 6-2.
Leesville’s Brittney Dittbrender and Micah Bursh were the lone qualifiers for the Wampus Cats.