The Missouri high school state tennis championships will take place Thursday through Saturday at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield, Mo. The Kansas high school tournaments will be held Friday and Saturday at various locations across the state.
Here are five things to watch in the tournaments:
1. Some familiar faces in Kansas Class 6A tournament
After losing in the Kansas Class 6A finals last year, Shawnee Mission East junior Sarah Wilcox is back for more. She stands at 22-3 this year and is ready to avenge last postseason’s exit.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
A couple of one-loss candidates will give Wilcox her best competition in the singles tournament. They hail from Blue Valley North (Chloe Kuckelman at 26-1) and Olathe South (Cady Lynn at 29-1).
In the Class 6A doubles, title chances run through Blue Valley Northwest’s undefeated pair, senior Kylee White and freshman Alisa Prinyarux. The duo is 16-0 heading into the state tournament.
But last year’s champions – Blue Valley North’s Karen Yan and Evelyn Chang – have lost only once this season (21-1) and are hungry for a second straight title.
2. Barstow tandem eyes a repeat
The Barstow Knights have been a fixture in the Missouri Class 1 doubles championships, winning five of the past nine seasons.
The school's top pairing this year has a distinct advantage: It's already won it once.
After claiming the Class 1 doubles title last fall, seniors Janie King and Amelia Smith take a 20-5 record into this year's bracket.
Barstow will also take part in the team tournament Thursday when it faces unbeaten Springfield Catholic in the semifinals.
3. Kansas City Christian freshmen vying for title
Lilly McNeill, a Kansas City Christian freshman, will put her untarnished record on the line at the Kansas Class 3-2-1A championships. She’s 21-0 this year and coming off a regional tournament win at Marysville.
McNeill’s teammate, freshman Ryan Jantsch, went 16-5 this year, and is in good position after finishing third in her regional tournament.
4. Sion headlines Missouri Class 2 bracket
Notre Dame de Sion senior Margo Gerke and junior Catherine Henne have qualified for the Missouri Class 2 state tournament a combined seven times.
This weekend, they will go together. Gerke and Henne are 21-3 as a doubles team, with all three losses to out-of-state competition. Liberty's pairing of Alex Rogers and Riley Kelley is also returning after qualifying last year.
The Class 2 singles bracket features less experience. Blue Springs has a pair of singles entrants for the first time since 2006 in Caitlyn Sporing and Bentley Walters. Park Hill South freshman Eva Kresovic (10-0) and Liberty freshman Colby Kelley (22-6) also qualified in singles.
Lee's Summit West reached the team semifinals for the first time in school history and face Springfield Central at 9 a.m. Thursday.
5. St. Thomas Aquinas and St. James highlight Kansas Class 5A
St. Thomas Aquinas’ Megan Root and Nelle Black are 22-15 on the season. But they’re riding a burst of momentum after taking the Pittsburg regional crown last week.
Bridgette Dwyer and Meredith Bierbaum, from St. James, were the second seed from the same region and stand at 24-7.
In Class 5A singles, St. James Academy’s Catherine Rieke (22-6) and De Soto’s Issa Sullivan (13-1) are the local names to watch. Rieke is a regional champion, and Sullivan finished second in the same region last week.