MHS Women’s Tennis Qualifies All 6 Players For State Tournament
October 11 — For the third consecutive season, all six Manhattan High tennis players have qualified for the State Class 6A tournament.
Jillian Harkin, Maura Wiens, Ava Bahr and Hannah Loub and Jessica Zhang and Erin Craft punched their tickets to declare after outstanding performances last week at a regional tournament at the Kossover Tennis Center in Topeka.
As a team, the Indians finished second with 19 points, behind regional champion Washburn Rural.
Harkin continued to show dominance, losing just two games all day en route to a straight set shutout of his four opponents.
“I told him afterwards not to let anybody do (win a regional championship) less than they are,” Manhattan head coach Tony Ingram said. “No one was there for the process when she was young and she and her dad were hitting the courts. All the time she spent made her as good as she is. Even though it was quite a chore. easy for her (to win the regional ones), I told her to be really proud of it. I’m also happy for her and her family. It’s a great accomplishment.
Harkin, a junior who will make her third state tournament, opened things up with 6-0, 6-0 wins over Alvarez from Topeka High, Cho from Junction City and teammate Maura Wiens before defeating Wichman from Washburn Rural ( 6-1, 6-1) to cap off two days of stellar tennis.
Wiens’ loss to Harkin was her only setback of the tournament as she went 3-1, taking third place overall.
Wiens, who is also heading for his third straight state tournament – but his first as a singles player – started with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Wichita North’s Fierros. She then fought to defeat DiMarzio of Washburn Rural, losing 4-6 in the first set before winning the second set by a score of 6-2. She went on to win the tiebreaker 10-5.
“Maura’s skills have really evolved over the last year in particular, and quite far since she was in first year,” said Ingram. “Her consistency has increased. She’s not a one-dimensional player, which makes her very competitive. It’s exciting because she has another year with the program, and I think she can go and declare this weekend. end and surprise a few people if it continues to be consistent and competitive. “
The loss to Harkin in the semifinals sent her to the third-place match against Weir-Dowd of Derby, and after losing 4-1 in the first set, she rallied to win 7-6 ( 3) and rolled in his second set 6-1 to clinch the bronze medal.
The senior duo of Bahr and Loub also won bronze for the Indians.
This will be the third Loub State Tournament and the second in Bahr.
They started with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Wichita East, followed by a 6-3, 6-3 win over Ulwelling and Karel of Derby before falling in a three-set match against Schmutzler and Beck of Washburn Rural. The Manhattan duo lost the first 4-6 before winning the second 6-4. They lost the deciding set 6-3.
In the third place match, Loub and Bahr sent Topeka High’s Carpenter and Caryl 6-3, 7-5.
“They came in as the third seed and finished third which is good,” said Ingram. “They had an opportunity against Washburn Rural.… I think they were disappointed with this result, but they didn’t keep it. When they play well, they’re a very good team, but at the same time , we talk about that fine line sometimes. They’re going to fight hard and they play well together and they start to freeze really well. “
Finally, on their first trips to the United States, Jessica Zhang and Erin Craft went 3-1 to take fifth place.
Zhang and Craft started off with a 6-0 sweep, 6-0 from Wichita North’s Perez and Vargas and went on to lose a close game against Topeka High’s top doubles teams before rebounding against Derby’s Yager and Walsh 6-2 , 6-4.
They continued their rally and clinched a big final victory against Topeka High’s No.2 doubles team (5-7, 6-1, 6-2) to lock in their fifth place.
“They have the ability to play really well, and it’s just about finding out what to do when they’re not playing well to get back on track,” said Ingram. “I’m very happy for them. They’re not necessarily experienced, but they’re both great baseline hitters and are still learning a few nuances of doubles.”
The Indians surrender to Wichita on Thursday. with a stop at Bethel College to strike for about an hour before the state tournament begins Friday morning at the Riverside Tennis Complex in Wichita.
“The league, the regions and the state are a great fun time,” said Ingram. “It all happens really fast, and you see the girls doing it. After seeing what they’ve put into tennis so far and paying for it and making the statement… it’s fun to be a coach and to watch your players compete at a high level. At this point, for me, I want the girls to enjoy the moment and not make it too big than it is. “
The game starts Friday morning at 10:30 a.m.