WILMINGTON -Happy birthday, Kristina.
With three bracket champions, including birthday girl Kristina Walt and Zane Bekheet at second doubles, the Wilmington High School girls tennis team won the SBAAC American Division tournament championship Thursday on the WHS courts.
“I’m extremely proud of all our players,” WHS coach Doug Cooper said. “Every single player was a contributor. We were 5-0 in our finals matches – three for first and two for third. Our seniors really stepped up. They’ve wanted a championship very badly and they made it possible with just two more matches to go. Every single player on our team has won a key match to put us in this position.
“We just had too many weapons. We have so much depth up and down the courts. This was truly a team efort all the way down the line.”
While Wilmington was first in the tournament, Clinton-Massie finished third. There are five divisional matches remaining and a league champion will not be officially crowned until those matches are completed or cancelled.
Wilmington can win the title, however, with a victory over Batavia on Monday, regardless of what happens in the other four divisional matches.
For Clinton-Massie, Clayborn, Nina Lazic and Raelee Schulz all finished second in their respective singles brackets. Lazic’s title match loss was particularly frustrating as the final score was 7-6 (7-0), 1-6, 5-7.
“It was great to see Clayborn avenge her loss to New Richmond’s Dragoo from last week, under much more favorable weather conditions,” CM coach Lynn Deatherage said.”Nina played her best tennis of the season in her final set.
“I was very pleased with today’s performance on all courts. We knew coming in that we could be the third wheel to upset the Wilmington, Goshen power battle. Whenever you face the same opponent three or four times, you pick up on their tricks and improve. We just came up short.”
At second doubles, Walt and Bekheet were champions and did it in fine fashion, claiming a 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 win in the championship match over Middick and Velagic of Goshen.
“(Kristina) had it all today,” Cooper said. “Serving aces, volleying, ground strokes. She even went down hard on her ankle late in the third second and wouldn’t be deterred. Zane was amazing. She’s never volleyed better.”
WHS freshman Claire Burns won three matches to claim the first singles title. Her championship win came against Hailey Clayborn of Clinton-Massie 6-3, 6-4.
“Claire has not lost a set this season,” said Cooper. “She is playing with terrific confidence right now.”
Deatherage said the match had “many long points and momentum shifts. Burns made fewer mistakes to claim the victory today.”
Emma Schroeder and Jenna Taylor were first doubles champions, defeating Liza Duncan and Kari Kragwall 6-2, 6-0 in the title match.
“Emma and Jenna absolutely cruised through the brackets,” the WHS coach said. “Emma, with the help of Brooklyn last year and Jenna this year, has established an unforgettable legacy at first doubles.”
Allie Kees and Josie Nichols both finished third in their respective brackets.
“Josie stepped up big,” Cooper said. “She has worked so hard all summer and worked out with the varsity team so much that she’s become an indispensable part of our team.
“Allie’s leadership role on the team has been instrumental in keeping us focused on what is important. She leads by example.”
Sept 27 2018
Wilmington 9 Goshen 7 Clinton-Massie 6 New Richmond 5 Batavia 4 Western Brown 3
• Claire Burns (W) def Kirk (WB) 6-0, 6-0; def Clifton (Go) 6-4, 6-2; def Clayborn (CM) 6-3, 6-4. Finished first
• Hailey Clayborn (CM) def Dragoo (NR) 6-0, 6-1; was def by Burns (W) 3-6, 4-6. Finished second
• Nina Lazic (CM) def Miller (WB) 6-0, 6-0; def Kees (W) 6-1, 6-3; was def by Huhn (Go) 7-6 (7-0), 1-6, 5-7. Finished second
• Allie Kees (W) was def by Lazic (CM) 1-6, 3-6; def Harrison (NR) 6-3, 6-1. Finished third
• Raelee Schulz (CM) def Manning (NR) 6-2, 6-2; was defby Salmons (Go) 1-6, 1-6. Finished second
• Josie Nichols (W) def Shelton (Ba) 6-0, 6-0; was def by Salmons (Go) 2-6, 1-6; def Manning (NR) 6-1, 6-0. Finished third
• Emma Schroeder, Jenna Taylor (W) def Roades, O’Hara (WB) 6-3, 6-1; def Duncan, Cragwall (CM) 6-2, 6-0. Finished first
• Liza Duncan, Kari Cragwall (CM) def Price, Horr (Go) 6-2, 6-1; were def by Schroeder, Taylor (W) 2-6, 0-6. Finished second
• Jenn Callewaert, Lindsey Amberger (CM) def Barber, Jackson (WB) 6-0, 6-0; were def by Bekheet, Walt (W) 4-6, 4-6; def Robbins, Kussman (NR) 6-3, 6-1. Finished third
• Zane Bekheet, Kristina Walt (W) def Callewaert, Amberger (CM) 6-4, 6-4; def Middick, Velagic (Go) 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4. Finished first