William Chrisman junior varsity tennis player Tori Gant saw a familiar opponent on the other side of the net during the KC Summer Slam Series in the girls varsity singles tournament third-place match.
It was Grain Valley’s Alyssa Owens, whom Gant said she has faced several times before in other tournaments.
“We’re rivals,” Gant said.
The Chrisman sophomore rebounded from a 6-1 loss in the semifinals to earn a 6-1 victory of her own against Owens, taking home a bronze medal during the Summit Slam portion of the Summer Slam tournament series Thursday at Lee’s Summit North High School.
Gant, who anticipates being a part of the Chrisman varsity squad this fall, wanted to make sure she got work in against other upcoming varsity players before the high school season begins.
“Some of the other players rested during the summer in the past while I would be playing tennis,” said Gant, who also took third in girls doubles with Chrisman teammate Nicole Eppert. “And I have a tournament coming up, which is the opening of district, I think. I am hoping to win at least one game and be known.”
And she hopes her hard work pays off when she plays for the Bears.
“We are going to have a lot of new players because we lost a lot of seniors,” she said. “We have a lot of newbies who are working hard, and I am pretty confident we will be able to do well this season.”
Owens, who has been in every Summer Slam tournament the last two years, said she hopes to be the No. 2 or 3 singles player for Grain Valley after serving as the Eagles’ No. 5 last season. Like Gant, she used the Summit Slam as a way to get some work in before she joins the Eagles in August.
“This whole tournament has been good for me,” said Owens, who finished fifth in mixed doubles with fellow Grain Valley student Joel Florida and sixth in girls doubles with Maddie Shields. “I had a couple of good partners. I also played really good in singles, but I really wasn’t with it in this last game.
“I think my backhands and serves were my best shots. I got a lot of aces. I was able to get some corner shots with my backhands.”
Lee’s Summit’s Kourtney Glenn won the varsity girls singles bracket.
BRONCOS FARE WELL: Lee’s Summit North coach Stu Reece, who was in charge of one of the locations for the Summit Slam, was pleased with the way the varsity boys side turned out. His doubles team of Nick Mathis and Lukas Parrish took first because of a forfeit from a Liberty North duo in the championship round.
“Unfortunately their opponents couldn’t make the finals, so they won by default, which you hate to do,” Reece said. “ But they still played some really awesome tennis throughout this tournament.”
In the varsity singles bracket, last year’s No. 3 singles player, Matthew DeBacker, defeated Parrish 8-3 in the championship match. Mathis took third in the bracket.
“Matthew got in his comfort zone and just really took off,” Reece said. “That was some of the best tennis I’ve seen him play. It’s a good sign for him next year.”
OTHER RESULTS: In mixed doubles North’s Lukas and Kristina Parrish took third and Blue Springs South’s Sammy and Francesca Klosener finished fourth. Francesca Klosener and Jasmine Tucker took second in varsity girls doubles; South Kye Reid took first, Brock Dunlap was second and Chrisman’s Carl Cavenger took fourth in JV boys singles; North’s Gabe Clifford was fourth in novice boys singles; South’s Hannah Tawney was second and Sumerlyn Vorachek was third in JV girls singles; South’s Emma Nedig was third in novice girls singles and Chloe White was fourth; Grain Valley’s Hunter Jones and Triston Whitton took third in varsity boys doubles; and Chrisman’s Clevenger and Jordan Twenter took first, South’s Carter Brown and Wes Schneider took second and South’s Dunlap and Reid took fourth in JV/novice boys doubles.