Blue Valley High School tennis player Alexa Tiefel entered her senior season this fall with two pretty serious goals.
First, Tiefel wants to win the Kansas Class 6A singles state title. More importantly, perhaps, she wants the rest of her Tigers teammates to succeed with her. Such was the case at this week’s Eastern Kansas League tournament, where Tiefel finished first in singles and the Tigers placed second as a team.
“I think it says a lot about her and a lot about her readiness to go on to the next level,” Blue Valley coach Kim Francis said. “I know she had a great time and it has been fun because this is the first season she was able to come out (for tennis) at the beginning.”
During her past seasons, Tiefel was involved in United State Tennis Association tournaments at the start of her high school season. This year, she elected to spend her entire high school senior season with the Tigers.
She has just one loss entering regional play and dropped just seven games across four matches at the EKL Tournament.
The Tigers also excelled in doubles, where Gabby Lee and Mandy Novicoff won the title in a thrilling tiebreaker against Blue Valley North’s top-seeded team of Evelyn Chang and Karen Yan.
“It was intense and dramatic,” Francis said. “Pretty much anyone who walked by would stop what they were doing and watch. It was incredible tennis.”
Blue Valley won the No. 1 singles and doubles matches at the EKL tournament, but the Tigers still lost out on the team title to Blue Valley North by 17 points. Bishop Miege placed third, followed by Blue Valley Northwest, Blue Valley West, St. Thomas Aquinas, Blue Valley Southwest and Gardner Edgerton.
“I have such a young team, that when they go out and play so composed and so competitively with veteran players, it is one of the best compliments I could give any of these players,” Blue Valley North coach Tracey Johnson said. “Each position had an outstanding match where they played exceptionally well.”
Chloe Kuckelman added a runner-up finish in singles for Blue Valley North, which placed second and third in both singles and doubles.
All eight EKL teams will play their regional tournaments on Saturday. The Class 6A teams will be split into two regional sites — Gardner Edgerton (Blue Valley, Blue Valley West) and Blue Valley Northwest (Blue Valley North). In Class 5A, Blue Valley Southwest and St. Thomas Aquinas will compete in the regional at St. James Academy. In Class 4A, Bishop Miege will compete in the regional at De Soto, which takes place on Friday and Saturday.
The top six singles and top six doubles finishers at the regional tournaments will qualify for state.