High School Region I Tennis roundup

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The Amarillo High doubles team of Sara Shelhamer, left, and Allex Gonzales qualified for the UIL Class 5A state tournament. [Provided photo]
Regional tennis tournaments completed this week stretched from Amarillo to Abilene with 14 teams and 24 players from around the Texas Panhandle grabbing that rare ticket to the UIL state tournament this coming Thursday and Friday in San Antonio on multiple courts around the city.

After this year the UIL will no longer utilize the playback system which allows the winner of the third-place match to play the loser of the regional finals if they haven’t played each other previously in the tournament.

Beginning next season, the top three teams will qualify but not before area teams were both helped and hurt by the final year of the playback system.

Region I-5A

A trio of Amarillo ISD netters earned a trip to the UIL Class 5A state tournament Wednesday and Thursday on the courts of Texas Tech University during the Region I-5A tennis tournament as the playback circuit had a significant impact on who made it.

Amarillo High’s Hallee and Morgan Rose made the finals of girls doubles not dropping a set before falling to a talented duo in Emilia and Sara Gyorgy from Grapevine, 6-2, 6-0.

The loss forced the Rose’s into the playback bracket where familiar faces were sitting. The other Sandies doubles duo of Allex Gonzales and Sara Shelhamer, came back from their semifinal loss to Grapevine to down an Argyle team, 6-2, 6-4, in the third-place match.

This setup a district finals rematch from a week ago in which Rose and Rose took down Gonzales and Shelhamer in a hard fought three set match.

This time around, Gonzales and Shelhamer ended up on top, 6-4, 6-3, to secure a bittersweet and subdued victory over their Sandies teammates.

This will be the third straight trip to state for Gonzales as the senior looks to grab her first gold.

In boys’ singles, Tucker Haynes of Tascosa picked up a three-set win over Darren Nava of El Paso Del Valle, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1, in the semifinals to earn a finals berth against Maximus Martin of El Paso.

Martin, who was dominant all tournament, took a 6-2, 6-0 win over Haynes which forced the Rebel netter into a playback match with Parth Mittal of Lubbock and a trip to San Antonio on the line.

The steady Haynes gained that ticket with a close 7-6 (1), 7-5 win. In mixed doubles, Amarillo High’s Caroline Artho and Barrett Stroud earned third place with a split set victory over the other Sandies mixed doubles team of Alex Earthman and Seren Wilson, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

The Randall doubles team of Kynley Craddock, left, and Gabby Dishong advanced to the UIL Class 4A state tournament. [Provided photo]

Region I-4A

The Region I-4A tournament Friday and Saturday in Lubbock looked more like a redo of the District 4-4A meet.

Canyon, Randall, West Plains and Hereford dominated the tournament but, this time around, several matches saw the runner-up team taking down the district champ.

With rain in the air all finals matches were held at the Lubbock Country Club indoor courts on Saturday after playing their first three matches the previous day on the tennis surface of Texas Tech.

In a highly anticipated rematch, Hereford’s duo of Brandon Ysaguirre and Macy Betzen avenged their district loss to Scout Adams and Cooper Richardson of West Plains with a straight set 6-4, 7-5 win to grab the regional title.

Both Adams and Ysaguirre made the state finals last year with different partners and they may face off one more time this week as Adams and Richardson grabbed silver with no playback match needed.

Girls’ doubles saw Randall’s dynamic duo of Gabby Dishong and Kynley Craddock take down Canyon’s Brylee Jesko and Brooke Rebstock one more time with a convincing 6-3, 6-1 win.

Jesko and Rebstock then had to face Ali Moss and Joslin Young of Glen Rose in the playback match.  Moss and Young won a tight first set, 7-5, before Canyon’s duo rallied to take the match with a pair of 6-2 sets and earning a trip to state.

Hereford’s Ella Dudley faced off against Lauren Brooks from Canyon in the girls’ singles finals and found the road to gold tougher than their meeting at district. After taking down Brooks in straight sets last week, Dudley lost the first set 6-2 before turning up her play and winning the next set 6-2.

In that third and final set, Dudley outlasted Brooks for a hard fought 7-5 win and a regional title.  However, Brooks didn’t have to face a playback match and gained a well-earned trip to state alongside Dudley.

In boys’ doubles, the top seed of David Eck and Isaac Reynolds from Canyon cruised to the regional finals but lost to the three seed from Burkburnett, 6-4, 6-1. The Burkburnett pair had beaten Dax Betzen and Bryson Shelton of Randall in the semis, 6-3, 6-1.

This forced Betzen and Shelton to go the playback route to try and earn a trip to state.  In the third place match the Randall team beat Seminole 6-1, 6-0 forcing a playback match with Eck and Reynolds.  Randall’s boys had lost to the Eagles netters in three sets last week but avenged that loss with a straight set, 7-5, 6-3, victory and gained a ticket to the state tournament.

Nazareth’s Kate Brockman, Maddie Brockman, Bryson Brockman, Creed Hochstein, Harley Gerber and Tanner Wethington advanced to the UIL Class 1A state tournament. [Cindy Huseman/ For Press Pass Sports]

Region I-1A

The Texas Panhandle highlighted the Region I-1A tournament with 10 Amarillo-area netters winning 15 medals over Wednesday and Thursday on the campus of South Plains College in Levelland.

Nazareth has a trio of doubles teams headed to San Antonio as each qualified in a different way.

The lone gold for the Swifts doubles teams was in boys’ doubles as Creed Hochstein and Bryson Brockman took down Groom’s Bryson Shuck and Greyson Peet in the semis, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 to earn a trip to the finals.

In that match, they faced their district foes from Happy in CJ Moore and Kason Sperry. In a hard fought, spirited battle, the Naz duo took down the Cowboys 6-2, 4-6, 7-5.

This forced the Happy pair into a playback match with Groom’s Shuck and Peet, who took down Borden County in the third-place match, for that final spot to state. After losing the first set in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (1), the Tigers duo won the final two sets, 6-3, 6-2 to mark the second straight trip for Shuck.

As the top seed in mixed doubles, Harley Gerber and Tanner Wethington found the road a tough one as they had an epic match with McLean’s Kassidy Russell and Jake Magee in the semis before winning 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

In the finals, the Swifts pair ran into a buzzsaw in Toryan Childers and Diezel Ramirez of Patton Springs, falling 6-2, 6-0. Russell and Magee earned third place so that catapulted Gerber and Wethington to state without a playback match.

Girls’ doubles pitted a pair of Naz teams in the playback match for a state tourney bid. The second seed, Maddie Brockman and Kate Brockman, made the finals where they faced off against the top team from Borden County who has two previous state trips under their belt.

The sister duo stunned the Lady Coyotes with a first set 6-4 win before succumbing in the final two sets, 6-1, 6-3. That set up a replay of last year’s playback match with Chloe Birkenfeld and Taylor Wethington.

The younger Brockman, Kate, was the only player to not have played in the same match last year where Birkenfeld and Wethington advanced. This year it was the older Brockman in Maddie earning a victory with a tough, straight set win, 6-4, 7-6 (3).

The final area player serving their way to state was White Deer’s Brodie Weathers in boys singles. Weathers fell to last year’s state runner-up, Chapman Sims of Grady, in the finals, 6-0, 6-2.

That loss pitted Weathers against Happy’s Brance Ferguson in the playback match.  Ferguson took down Daniel Schacher of Nazareth, 6-3, 6-1 to force the match up with Weathers. However, Weathers was up to the task, taking down Ferguson 6-1, 6-2.

In girls’ singles, Celia Middleton of Happy won her third-place match, 6-2, 6-2, over Emily Blankenship of Whiteface to earn a bronze medal.

Regional notes 

Region 1-3A boasts as one of the toughest regions in the state as tennis powerhouses Wall, Vernon, Peaster and Brock make the road extremely tough to earn a state trip.

This year’s meet, held Wednesday and Thursday at the Rose Park Tennis Center in Abilene, was no different. The Texas Panhandle came up short of qualifying any player to move past the quarterfinal round as the teams mentioned dominated the landscape of state qualifiers.

It was much the same at the Region I-2A meet held Wednesday and Thursday at the Rebel Tennis Center in Amarillo.

However, Wellington’s Madeleine Kane did pick up a bronze medal for the area in girls singles. Kane fell to Chelsea Muniz of Wink in the semis, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, but rebounded for a straight set, 6-2, 6-4, win over Brinley Quinn of Colorado City to gain that medal.

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