Blue Valley North is no stranger to playing for a girls tennis state title. They’re back again.
On the singles side, the Mustangs are represented by their dynamic-duo in the Kuckelman twins, Chloe and Ellie, heading into Saturday’s semifinals at Riverside Tennis Complex in Wichita.
Chloe pushed through to the semifinals by defeating Aditi Joshi of Witchita East in the first round, Sydnee Foster of Hutchinson in the next round, and Gabby Lee of Blue Valley in the quarterfinals.
Ellie received a first-round bye before defeating Olathe North’s Naima Patel in the second round. In the quarterfinals Ellie took down Lillian Oliver of Shawnee Mission Northwest.
“They’re improving, and they are getting sharper with every match,” Blue Valley North head coach Tracey Johnson said of the Kuckelmans.
The twins could be on a crash course to meet in the finals, as they are lined up on opposite sides of the bracket.
Standing in Ellie’s way is Alisa Prinyarux of Blue Valley Northwest, while Sarah Wilcox of Shawnee Mission East will square off against Chloe.
“Those matchups have always been a tough one,” Johnson said of the twins’ semifinals matchups. “I think it’s going to be a really good match to watch with a lot of good shot-making.”
The Mustangs’ presence is also strongly felt in the doubles bracket of the tournament as they placed both of their teams in the semifinals.
The teams of Athena Tran and Sydnee Paisner as well as Evelyn Chang and Callie Flanagan find themselves on opposite sides of the bracket and went 5-0 on Friday.
With the potential of an all-Blue Valley North final in both the singles and doubles bracket, Johnson admits that she would be more relaxed in that scenario because all of her players will have met their goals.
“They’ll be so happy for each other that it’ll be a lot of fun,” Johnson said. “We have such a close-knit team. We couldn’t be more proud of how they work on and off the court together.”
De Soto’s Sullivan reaches semis in 5A
De Soto’s Issa Sullivan and Catherine Rieke of St. James Academy each advanced to the semifinals in singles in the Kansas Class 5A state tournament at Maize South in Wichita.
Sullivan advanced to the semifinals with wins over Salina Central’s Callie Sanborn (6-1, 6-0), and Goddard’s Sydney Lefevere (6-2, 6-3), while Rieke defeated Bishop Carrol’s Paige Stranghoner (6-2, 6-1) and Lillie Williams of Maize (6-2, 6-3) to advance to the semifinals.