Canyon ISD brings home hardware at UIL state tennis tournament

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Scout Adams and Cooper Richardson became the first UIL state champions in West Plains history. [Provided photo]
It was a historic performance by a a pair of Canyon ISD tennis teams that highlighted the UIL state tennis meet Thursday and Friday in San Antonio.

The West Plains mixed doubles team and the Randall girls’ doubles made school history by grabbing the only golds by any Texas Panhandle athletes over the two days.

Adams and Richardson cement legacy 

For Scout Adams and Cooper Richardson, the road to a UIL Class 4A state title invariably had to run through Hereford each step of the way.

The West Plains netters picked up straight set wins over Wimberley and China Spring during Thursday’s quarter and semifinals to set up a rematch, one more time, with their rival from District 4-4A.

Adams and Richardson beat the Whiteface duo of Macy Betzen and Brandon Ysaguirre in the district finals and faced off again at the Region I-4A meet last week. The Whiteface duo took down Adams and Richardson for the regional championship, but both teams were able to punch a ticket to San Antonio.

The third matchup for the state title brought out the best in both teams and the match was filled with momentum swings throughout. After West Plains won the first set, Hereford refocused and played well taking the second set 6-2.

Adams and Richardson regrouped and rallied back as they took the final set 6-4 to write their names in West Plains folklore being the first UIL state gold medal winners from the school.

The Randall team of Kynley Craddock, left, and Gabby Dishong won the UIL Class 4A girls doubles championship Friday. [Provided photo]

Randall shines in San Antonio 

For Randall’s doubles teams it was quite the experience they endured in just over 24 hours.

Both the dynamic girls’ doubles duo of Gabby Dishong and Kynley Craddock and the boys’ doubles team of Bryson Shelton and Dax Betzen had quite the ride while in San Antonio.

All four players were also a part of the state qualifying One-Act play.  After Dishong and Craddock dispersed a team from Wimberly in the semifinals, they loaded up and headed to Austin.

Shelton and Betzen were still playing and finally took out a Lindale squad in three sets to hit the road around 7 p.m.  With Randall going on stage at 9 p.m. it was a tight squeeze but both squads made it.

Randall’s One Act play, “The Book of Everything “, earned a silver medal and Dishong earned an individual gold medal as she was named Outstanding Technician.

The four players then loaded up after results were announced around 12:30 a.m. to head back to San Antonio. They finally arrived back at their hotel around 2:45 a.m. and grabbed as much sleep as they could before competing at 11 a.m. the next morning.

Dishong and Craddock faced off against a solid team in Tatum Salinas and Alyssa Van Zandt from Burnet. As expected, it was a high level of tennis playing between both teams.

Neither squad was able to build much momentum throughout.  Burnet took the opening set 7-5 but the Randall pair answered with a 7-5 victory in set two. In a frenetic match it was the Raiders duo that kept fighting and never gave up.

Feeding off head coach Darby Norman the pair did the little things that they preach in practice every day to help set school history. Despite having won gold in Team Tennis this was the first gold medal in spring tennis in Randall history.

In boys’ doubles, Dax Betzen and Bryson Shelton rose above the field and landed a spot in the finals. On Friday, their opponent was none other than their Region I-4A foes from Burkburnett in Caden Coker and Owen Ruiz.

Shelton, the lone senior on the Raiders squad, leaned on his confidence from team tennis while the hard-working Betzen helped the pair battle the Bulldog netters. After falling 6-3 in the first set, Norman urged his team to seize momentum in the second and they did.  The pair pulled off a 6-3 second set win to force a third set.  However, it was the Burkburnett pair that came out on top, 6-2 in the end.

On top of a tremendous two days, Randall head tennis coach Darby Norman was honored as the NFHS sectional and national Tennis Coach of the Year.

State notes

Multiple teams from across the Amarillo-area also earned bronze during the two-day event.

In Class 4A, Brylee Jesko and Brooke Rebstock of Canyon in girls doubles and Ella Dudley of Hereford in girls’ singles each made the semifinal round.

In Class 1A, the only medals were earned by a pair of boys’ doubles teams. Nazareth’s team of Bryson Brockman and Creed Hochstein and Groom’s Bryson Shuck and Greyson Peet won quarterfinal matches before falling in the semifinals to earn third place.

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