They did it again.
The Blue Valley North Mustangs girls tennis team seized their third straight Kansas Class 6A team championship on Saturday in dominating fashion at Riverside Tennis Complex in Wichita.
In fact, if you have caught any of the Mustangs practices this season, you were probably treated to a preview of both finals matchups.
In singles it was a face-off between the Plains region’s top two ranked players, twin sisters and Nebraska commits Chloe and Ellie Kuckelman.
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Ellie rode the tournaments top-overall seed into the semifinals, where she defeated Alisa Prinyarux of Blue Valley Northwest 6-4 and 6-1.
Prinyarux took third place in singles and helped BV Northwest to a third-place team finish.
Chloe reached the championship by defeating Shawnee Mission East’s Sarah Wilcox in a rematch of 2016’s championship match.
Chloe took the first set 6-4, but Wilcox refused to go down without a fight, winning the second set by the same score.
Wilcox was looking for her third consecutive appearance in the final, where she suffered defeats in both 2015 and 2016.
Chloe, however, would not be denied. She took the final set 6-4, setting up the battle with Ellie.
Wilcox finished fourth in singles and led the Lancers to a runner-up finish in the team rankings.
While Chloe won the championship last year, her sister was force to watch from the sideline due to an injury, but this year it was Ellie’s turn to claim first place.
Ellie defeated Chloe 6-4, 6-4 for the state championship. And the victory concluded an undefeated season in which she never lost a set.
While the twins’ tournament success was huge in earning Blue Valley North the team championship, their two doubles teams carried just as much weight in the victory.
Evelyn Chang and Callie Flanagan met their Mustang teammates Athena Tran and Sydnee Paisner in the doubles championship match.
Chang and Flanagan had powered past Blue Valley West in the semifinals winning each set 6-1. Tran and Paisner had handled the tough task of a SM East doubles team by scores of 6-1 and 6-3.
In the championship match, it was Chang and Flanagan who emerged victorious, winning 6-1, 6-1, concluding the season with an undefeated record without losing a set.
“It feels great because we’ve all put in such hard work, and this is basically the perfect result,” said Chang.
While BVN has now won state as a team for the third consecutive year, this year’s title is special in its own way to coach Tracey Johnson.
“When you graduate a significant number of players and come back and fill in with new players who haven’t gone to state before and end up getting your third title it’s really nice to be able to become part of that,” Johnson said in a phone interview. “It’s nice to rise to that apex of your sport.”
The Mustangs capped off the season by achieving the trifecta of winning the singles, doubles and team championship, cementing their mark among the greatest tennis programs in the state of Kansas.
KC Christian wins title
In Kansas 3-1A, Kansas City Christian’s girls captured their first state championship in team history on Saturday in tournament play starting at Harmon Park in Prairie Village.
Due to rain, the tournament was finished indoors, but that didn’t stop KC Christian or Lilly McNeill from grabbing the championship.
McNeill, the tournament’s top-overall seed, won the singles championship by defeating Emily Ryan from Central Plains 6-0, 6-2.
KC Christian coach Brian Miller attributed some of the success to playing powerhouse tennis programs in the KC area.
“We get to play Blue Valley North and Shawnee Mission East,” Miller said. “We’re all ready to go when we get here.”
The victory is huge for a school that has never won a state title and is trying to create a winning culture.
“Personally, it means the world to me,” Miller said. “For a school, it’s starting a culture. It’s winning with integrity, and they do it the right way.”
▪ In Kansas Class 4A play in Pratt, Brooklyn Hunter of Topeka Hayden won the singles state championship, while Sydney Lair and Hannah Geoffroy of Wichita Collegiate won doubles.
▪ The Kansas Class 5A tournament at Maize South in Wichita was suspended due to the inclement weather. Play is set to resume at 9 a.m. Sunday.