Blue Springs No. 1 singles player Caitlyn Sporing knew this year would be her last chance to win an individual state title as a senior.
The calm and collected Sporing actually had some nerves going into the sectional round against St. Teresa’s Academy’s Thais Montagner. Despite that, she coasted to a 6-2, 6-0 victory to advance to the state singles tournament for the third year in a row.
If Sporing had nerves, she surely didn’t show it Tuesday at the Metro East Tennis Center in Blue Springs. She had a stone cold look on her face most of the match and she often yelled to herself after scoring a point.
“It went a lot smoother than I thought it would,” Sporing said. “She is a USTA player, so I know she’s good. I had a lot of nerves coming in because it is my senior year.”
The look on Sporing’s face was the same demeanor that Blue Springs head coach Jody McClain has been accustomed to seeing.
“If she is ever nervous, she doesn’t show it,” McClain said. “Her positive body language helps her a lot on the court. That’s what I talk to my players about. When you see a player slump their shoulders or hit their foot with their racket, then you know they are frustrated. Caitlyn stays positive no matter what.”
Sporing will be aiming for a state championship. She took fifth during her sophomore year and fourth in her junior season.
“If there was a year for me to win a state title, this is my year,” Sporing said.
Teammates Bentley Walters, a junior, and Allie Brown, a sophomore, nearly joined Sporing at the state tournament in doubles. The duo, which first played together this season, lost 5-7, 6-3, 3-6 in a tightly contest battle with St. Teresa’s Lauren Adriano and Maggie Fielder. The last set featured five deuces, with the Stars’ duo closing out the victory.
“They were a little more aggressive at the net,” McClain said of Adriano and Fielder. “Our girls did a good job with their ground strokes and keeping it away from the net. We were using our alleys more in the third set, which we should have done more of earlier.
“There were just too many unforced errors. It really could have gone either way.”
Despite the loss, McClain was happy to see her top duo progressively get better over the season, especially with Walters teaming with Sporing the prior two seasons.
“Bentley and Caitlyn played a lot together and then you add Allie into the mix this year,” McClain said. “We were hoping to get three to state. They are tough players, they will be back next year.”
So will Blue Springs South junior Francesca Klosner, who made her first sectional appearance of her career in singles. She faced a tough opponent in Class 13 champion Tristan Caskey of Lee’s Summit West, who won 6-3, 6-2. It was still a strong showing for Klosener, South head coach Jake Estep said.
“It was awesome to get here and then she gets here and performs at such a high level,” Estep said of Klosener. “Francy had a heck of a day today. She was bashing the ball and getting to everything. She moved better than I have ever seen before.”
Grain Valley’s Ryan Deaton and Kendra Sibert took on the Lee’s Summit West doubles team of Megan Demo and Raegan McGee, the District 13 champions, and fell 6-1, 6-0.
“We are happy with what they did during the season as a whole,” Grain Valley coach Blake Thorne said. “They had a really good regular season, and making it to sectionals was a really big accomplishment. The match didn’t go our way, but that was a really good team.”