Caitlyn Sporing continues to show why she’s one of the top tennis players in the state.
Sporing, a Blue Springs junior, rolled to a 6-0, 6-0 win in a singles match at the Class 2 Sectional 7 tournament Tuesday at Lee’s Summit North High School to advance to the state tournament and improve to 16-1 on the season.
“It feels really good to be heading back to state,” said Sporing, who finished fifth at state last fall. “I feel super bad that I can’t go with my doubles partner (Bentley Walters), but I’m still really excited and I just hope to place better than last year.”
Sporing’s match with Pranathi Gannavaram of Lee’s Summit West took less than 45 minutes as she dominated in all aspects.
“When it comes time for sectionals and state, I just play my ‘A’ game,” Sporing said. “I think the wind really helped me and I used it to my advantage today.”
Wildcats coach Jody McClain said Sporing not losing any games in a sectional match is remarkable.
“To win a sectional match 6-0, 6-0, it’s very impressive,” she said. “Caitlyn was a good player last year, but she’s even better this year. She hits harder, she’s more consistent, she has more variety in her shots, she can drop-shot and she can lob when she needs to. She has more weapons in her arsenal to use against different players. Her goal is to get higher at state last year. I’m hoping that happens, and she has the capability to do that.”
Sporing won’t be the lone area player headed to state Oct. 13-14 at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield.
The Grain Valley doubles team of sisters Mikaela Griechen and Miranda Griechen shook off a first set loss to West’s Gillian Evans and Kennedy Cross and won a 2 1/2-hour marathon 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.
“All the hard work we’ve put in has now paid off,” Mikaela Griechen said. “Going to state is an awesome accomplishment for my sister and I.”
Both sisters and Grain Valley coach Randy Draper credited a change in their mental approach to the match following the first set as being key.
“What we talked about was you have to win the battle with yourself before you can win a battle against anybody else,” Draper said. “In the first set there was a lot of battling amongst us, trying to win us over. Finally in the second set, we got to play against the opponent. When that happened, we were good. These girls deserve to go to state. They worked so hard this summer, they practically lived on our courts, it was crazy.”
Added Miranda: “The last two sets we got out of the hole we were in during the first. We had mental toughness and were able come back, be positive, had no more negativity and we started doing everything right.”
Being sisters also helps when playing as a doubles team, Mikaela said.
“We have a better connection together than I would with someone I wouldn’t know,” she said. “Whenever we play well, we’re dynamite.”
The other area players at the tournament saw their seasons come to an end.
Walters won the first set 6-0 against West’s Tristen Caskey but fell 6-1, 6-2 in the final two. The Blue Springs South doubles team of Khiara Cox and Jasmine Tucker lost to West’s Chloe Sabin and Sarah Duong, 6-2, 6-2.
“I’m proud just to get them here, with them being (sophomores),” South coach Jake Estep said. “It gives them something to shoot for next year. They get to come here and see what it looks like at the next level and say, ‘Next year, that’s our goal.’”