The Ada girls tennis team definitely made noises like a state title contender at Monday’s regional tournament at the Ada Tennis Center.
Skip Griese’s squad lost just one set all day in sweeping all four championships to easily outdistance area rival Byng, 48-35, in the team standings. The other top contenders for the 4A title — Metro Christian, Elk City and Perry — also won their regionals with ease, but Metro Christian was the only member of that trio to win all four championship matches.
“What we did today we needed to happen if we’re going to achieve what we want to Friday and Saturday (in the state tournament at the Oklahoma City Tennis Center),” Griese said after Monday’s sweep. “If we’re going to make a run at state, we needed to sweep this regional.”
Margo Martin was especially impressive at No. 1 singles for the Lady Cougars. After drawing a first-round bye, she didn’t lose a single game during her run to the regional crown, which she capped with a over Mallory Jones of Byng.
Sophomore Haley Dean also had no trouble in the No. 2 Singles final, cruising past Classyan Gehring of Okmulgee, 6-3, 6-0.
In No. 1 Doubles, the sister team of senior Alli Keel and freshman Natalie Keel had no trouble with Lauren Tiger and Cassey Stoy of Henryetta in a 6-3, 6-0 sweep. The only nail-biter of the day for Griese’s squad came in the No. 2 Doubles championship, where Taylor Alexander and Menee Thomsen needed three sets to dispose of Shani Cassell and Samantha Jones of Byng.
Cassell and Jones rallied from a 5-3 deficit for a 7-5 victory in the first set before Alexander and Thomsen came back to win the final two sets, 6-4, 6-1.
Byng head coach Alan Simpson was proud of his team’s runner-up finish at the tough regional.
“Our girls battled hard all day. It was one lengthy day which seemed longer than a poor man’s life,” Simpson said. “I was happy to see two of our entries get to the finals, and our No. 2 doubles take Ada to three sets before giving way to exhaustion and mental mistakes.”
In No. 2 Singles, Byng’s Emily Noble dropped a 6-4, 6-0 decision to Kayla Cuilla of Little Axe in the third place match and the Byng No. 1 Doubles team of Kaitlyn Atkeson and Andrea Burnsworth rallied past a team from Tecumseh 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 to capture fifth place in one of the final matches of the night.
“We wish our 1 Doubles team could have qualified, but they played hard and even won a tough three-set match versus Tecumseh for fifth place. Kaitlyn and Andrea were warriors and there WILL be another day, time, and place, since they are sophomores,” Simpson said.
Tecumseh finished a distant third in the team race with 29 points, and Seminole was right behind in fourth with 28.