State Bound

Chargers place 4th at regional tennis, qualify 3 for state

Tennis season will continue for another week.

Three Wabaunsee players placed in the top six of the Hillsboro regional Friday and Saturday, placing 4th as a team and qualifying for the state tournament next weekend in Kansas City.

“It’s a great feeling to send some players to state for the first time,” head coach Brendan Praeger said. “Wabaunsee has had a lot of good teams in the past and I’m glad we’re finally playing on that level again.”

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Schreiner prepares to return a serve at the Seaman Invitational in September. She placed fifth at regionals and enters state with a 25-5 record. She placed first at four meets this year (Wamego, Clay Center, Sacred Heart and Abilene).

Senior Autymn Schreiner punched her ticket to get into the state tournament on Saturday. Schreiner went into regionals as the sixth seed and played against the eighteenth seed, Callie Bernhardt from Hillsboro. Schreiner easily defeated her with a score of 6-0, 6-1.

“Her first match was a breeze,” head coach Brendan Praeger said. “I could tell she was focused and calm. She never let the other girl have a chance.”

Schreiner then went on to the second round and played Emma Sand, the third seed from defending state champions Kansas City Christian. Schreiner took a tough loss 1-6, 4-6.

For a chance to compete at state, Schreiner had to win her next match. She competed against Isabella Matteucci from Sacred Heart. Schreiner lost to Matteucci last year to end her season, and also split matches earlier in the year. Schreiner avenged last year’s loss and secured her spot at state with a score of 6-2, 6-2.

“I was able to get to every ball and continued to do everything right. I had the confidence in regionals that I normally don’t have,” Schreiner said.

Schreiner moved on in the bracket to play for fifth. She finally got to play against one of Rossville’s players, Alivia Sherer.

“She was really aggressive and patient. She waited for the right opportunity to finish the points,” assistant coach Brandi Miller said.

“I’m glad she got the chance to face Rossville. We’ve been the only MEL team for so long and I wanted to meet her on the court,” Praeger said.

Schriener placed fifth, after taking the win from Sherer, 6-0, 6-1. Since she finished fifth she will play a runner-up from a different regional.

“She was really aggressive and patient. She waited for the right opportunity to finish the points,” assistant coach Brandi Miller said.

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Raegan Feyh and Kendyl Bolinder talk between points at Seaman. The pair finished sixth at regionals and enter state with a 13-15 record. Feyh and Bolinder have played together since their freshman years.

Juniors Kendyl Bolinder and Raegan Feyh also qualified for the state tournament. Bolinder and Feyh entered regionals unseeded, but drew the tenth seed and played the seventh seed, Isaac and Plenert from Hillsboro. Bolinder and Feyh had lost to the pair earlier in the week at Abilene, and agreed that they should have won and this was their chance to prove it. Bolinder and Feyh took an early lead against Hillsboro and received a win, 6-2, 6-2.

“Kendyl did a good job with her groundstrokes and serving, and I was aggressive at the net, so everything all came together and we were able to play our best,” Feyh said.

Bolinder and Feyh continued in the bracket and played second seeded Yenni and Elliott from Smokey Valley. It was a hard match, and the pair didn’t come out successful, losing 0-6 in both sets.

The pair still had a chance for state against Marysville’s Schroller and Spurgeon. It was another tough match, but after losing the first set 3-6, the pair was able to come back and win the next two sets 6-2, 6-2. Bolinder and Feyh received their spot for state and the oppurtunity to play for fifth place.

“I knew they had the skills to get to state, but I’ve been frustrated with their inconsistency at times this year. I can tell they were focused and they improved a lot throughout the year. It’s a great feeling to see that work pay off,” Praeger said.

Bolinder and Feyh played a challenging game against Edelman and Staullbaumer for fifth place. They competed hard, but took the loss 1-6, 4-6, receiving sixth place.

“I knew they had the skills to get to state, but I’ve been frustrated with their inconsistency at times this year. I can tell they were focused and they improved a lot throughout the year. It’s a great feeling to see that work pay off,” Praeger said.

Junior Lily Ogden finished her season at regionals. Ogden was seeded as the tenth seed, and played Matteucci in the first round. Praeger said that she played well, but was never able to take control in the match. Ogden lost 0-6, 1-6, and ended her season with a record of 17-12.

“She was matched to a tough girl, but still played a great game,” Miller said.

Ogden plans to return next year and continue to improve. Praeger said that she will probably be the strongest returning player next year.

“I’m looking forward to winning more matches next year and beating some of the girls that I lost to this year,” Ogden said.

Senior Kaytlyn Meseke and sophomore Mayah Mumpower also ended their season at regionals. They were drawn in as eighteenth seed and played a play-in game against the eleventh seed, Housley and Sanchez from Maysville.

“This pair wasn’t seeded, but they were really playing their best this week. They placed 2nd at Abilene and carried a little momentum into regionals,” Praeger said.

Meseke and Mumpower started out rough, down 0-4 in the first match, but they were able to pull themselves out of the hole, and win both sets 7-5.

After making it to the first round, Meseke and Mumpower competed against the sixth seed from Smokey Valley, McMillan and Jones. Unfortunately, McMillan and Jones ended Meseke’s career and Mumpower’s season with a score of 4-6, 2-6, finishing with a record of 12-14.

“I am proud of how Mayah and competed and grateful that we ended the season on a good note,” Meseke said.

Miller had the opportunity to step up as head tennis coach on Saturday. Praeger unfortunately was not able to make it to the second day of competition due to ongoing back issues. Meseke streamed matches on Instagram live so Praeger and others at home could watch the matches.

“I’m glad we have a good assistant and players who can work hard independently,” Praeger said.

The three players and coaches are ready for the chance to compete at state. Some are excited for t-shirts with their names on them, some for the different experiences and others for the different people that will be competing. They are the first state tennis qualifiers since Bailee Henry and Haley Turner in 2013.

“I can wait to compete against the best at state. We might even face my old coach at Central Plains, which would be pretty cool,” Praeger said.

— Kaytlyn Meseke, @kaytlyn_nelle

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