For the first time in her prep career, Blue Springs High School senior Bentley Walters represented the Wildcats as their No. 1 singles player.
The past three years, she played behind former Examiner Player of the Year Caitlyn Sporing, who is now a freshman at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.
Walters was the lone Wildcat to pick up a win in a season-opening 8-1 loss to St. Teresa’s Tuesday. She showed the same skill set Wednesday at Baumgardner Park in Blue Springs. She claimed an 8-0 No. 1 singles win and teamed with Danielle Bond for an 8-6 No. 1 doubles victory as the Wildcats blanked St. Michael the Archangel Catholic 9-0.
While Walters starred at No. 1 singles, a freshman made a lot of noise for the Wildcats as Molly Hocker earned an 8-0 win at No. 6 singles and an 8-0 win at No. 2 doubles with Allie Brown to cap an impressive varsity debut.
“We all knew that Bentley would have a lot of success at No. 1 singles, because she’s played in the shadow of Caitlyn for so many years,” first-year Wildcats head coach Jennifer Kramer said. “Bentley was the only player to get a win against St. Teresa’s and she followed that up with an impressive performance today.
“And what can you say about Molly? She is a soccer player who wanted to come and try tennis and she just kept improving and improving. It’s pretty remarkable for a kid who just picked up a racket for the first time a few weeks ago. She is going to have a lot of success in this program.”
Other Wildcats winners were Brown, 8-2, at No. 2 singles; Malina McGaw, 8-3, at No. 3 singles; Bond, 8-2, at No. 4 singles; and Jamie Bowman, 8-3, at No. 5 singles.
McGaw and Bowman teamed up for an 8-2 win at No. 3 singles.
“It’s really cool and exciting to come out and get 8-0 wins in singles and doubles,” Hocker said. “I’ve played soccer for a long time and thought that it would be fun to try out for the tennis team, never thinking I would make varsity. But the confidence I got from our doubles win really gave me a lot of energy in singles.”
Walters was thrilled to claim her second singles victory in as many days, but was even happier with the Wildcats 9-0 team win.
“It’s great that we all did so well today,” Walters said. “I’ve played behind one of the best players in Blue Springs history and it’s fun to be No. 1 singles my senior year. I was excited about my win against St. Teresa’s and getting another win today.
“I know I’m going to be facing some of the best players in the area, and I’m ready for that challenge.”
While his team did not record a victory, first-year Guardians coach Jack Alsbach saw a lot of positives from his team.
“I saw a lot of effort out there today,” Alsbach said. “If we keep getting that effort, it’s going to translate into success this season.”