For the first time in its short history, the St. James Academy girls tennis team can claim ownership of a state title.
One year after missing a first-place tie with Arkansas City by four points, the Thunder earned 37 points with all its qualifiers to win the Class 5A championship tournament and beat Bishop Carroll (33 points) on Sunday at Maize South High School. The tournament was postponed the previous afternoon when inclement weather rolled into the Wichita area.
Senior Catherine Rieke (27-7), who was the runner-up in singles last season, was St. James’ highest finisher. After losing her last set in the semifinals when play resumed Sunday morning, she came back and defeated De Soto’s Issa Sullivan in three sets for third place. Sullivan (28-3) was the top seed out of the De Soto regional.
Senior Meredith Bierbaum and junior Tara Devine (31-8) placed sixth after losing 9-7 in the the fifth-place matchup against Maize South’s Emma Queen and Kaylan Fields (29-12).
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Freshman Gabbi Taylor (31-9) finished seventh in singles play, and the senior doubles team of Ryan Starkey and Jillian Kubicki (27-12) placed 11th to add to the team score.
For full results, go to kshsaa.org.