Lee’s Summit West didn’t bring home any state championships from last week’s girls state tennis tournament, but the Titans didn’t leave empty-handed.
For the third year in a row, West had an all-state finisher when Tristen Caskey placed sixth in singles during the Class 2 state tournament at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield.
Caskey, a freshman, is the first singles player from West to earn all-state by placing in the top eight in singles or doubles. She joins her sister, Kelen, who finished all-state in doubles with Pranathi Gannavaram each of the previous two seasons.
“We’re very proud of her,” West tennis coach Todd Wilson said. “You don’t see a lot of freshmen standing on that medals stand. For her to do that bodes well for her future and, hopefully, serves as a springboard going into next year.”
After beating Rachel Butz of Rolla 6-0, 6-0 in the first round, Caskey lost to eventual state champion Eva Kresovic of Park Hill South 6-3, 6-0 in quarterfinals. She bounced back with two victories in the consolation bracket before falling to Erin Davis of Lafayette (Wildwood) 6-3, 6-3 in the fifth-place match.
“Tristen played great,” Wilson said. “Individual state is a pretty big stage, especially for a freshman. She came in and played exceptionally well.”
West’s doubles tournament entry of Chloe Sabin and Sarah Duong bowed out in the consolation quarterfinals with a hard-fought 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 loss to Abigail Thuner and Shannon Sims of St. Joseph’s Academy. Sabin and Duong beat Giselle Krikorian and Nishka Hegde of Parkway North 6-1, 6-1 in first round then lost to Megan Moore and Emily Xu of Parkway South 6-2, 6-2 in quarterfinals.
“I knew they would have liked to have been all-state too,” Wilson said. “Just coming up short of getting to the second day was tough, but I was proud of the way they played too.”
The three-day tournament began for West with a third-place team finish.
After falling to eventual champion Rock Bridge (Columbia) 5-0 in the semifinals, West bounced back with a 5-2 victory against Springfield Central in the consolation match.
The Titans dropped two of three doubles matches against Springfield Central before rallying with singles victories from Caskey, Sabin, Gannavaram, and Gillian Evans to win the match.
“We had a sluggish start,” Wilson said. “I think we were still feeling the effects of Rock Bridge, but, once we got to singles, we really stepped it up.”
Including Caskey and Sabin, who is also a freshman, West will have four girls back next year from a team that finished 15-6 and reached the state tournament for a second consecutive year. That has Wilson already thinking about next fall.
“Any time you can return that many players off a good team, that bodes well for next year,” Wilson said. “I’m excited, and I know the girls are excited, too.”
Josephine and Patricia Moore of Raymore-Peculiar dropped both matches during Class 2 state doubles. The Moores, who are both seniors, lost to Faith Wright and Katherine Dudley of Rock Bridge 6-2, 6-0 in first round and to Thuner and Sims of St. Joseph’s Academy 6-2, 6-4 in the consolation first round.