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Plenty of senior moments in Chrisman tennis win

By Cody Thorn
Special to The Examiner

On senior night, an all-senior lineup led William Chrisman to a sweep over Fort Osage on Tuesday at Santa Fe Park.

The Bears had seniors in every spot in singles and doubles and rolled to a 9-0 victory – their second straight win this season and 10th straight against Fort Osage dating back to 2016.

“We are kind of a gritty team; we aren’t perfect fundamentally and we got a lot of things to work on,” Chrisman coach Jason Grubb said. “But, it was good today. It was good.”

William Chrisman got victories in singles from Tori Gant, Kiara Ashurst, Laurie Douglas, Krystal Olson, Mackenzie Alfrey and Emma Place.

Douglas had an 8-0 victory over Courtney Haffner, while Ashurst and Gant gave up a combined three points in their wins.

In doubles, Gant and Ashurst won at No. 1, while Douglas and Olson got a victory at No. 2 doubles – both by score of 8-2.

The closest match, Alfrey and Emily Mendoza won 8-6 at No. 3, edging the Fort Osage team of Alanis Cameron and Lauren Hahne.

This senior class has been part of a great deal of success at Chrisman and players like Gant and Ashurst have been around the varsity program every year.

Grubb says he essentially has four No. 1 players in the lineup and anyone one of the top four — Gant, Ashurst, Douglas or Olson — could be the No. 1 on a given day.

Over the past three years and in the three matches so far this season, the senior class has been a part of 30 wins. That includes back-to-back years of 11 victories.

The history for the Bears – now 2-1 this season – hadn’t been much to write home about. From 2010 to 2016, Chrisman never won more than six matches in a season and had a combined 32 wins in those seven years.

“They came in at a good time,” Grubb said of the 2021 seniors. “They were freshmen when we started to win a little bit. The senior class last year started really filling in the winning. They set the example and this group will reap all the benefits. It has been nice to build them up.”

In the lone loss this year Chrisman fell 8-1 to Blue Springs South but played with Ashurst, who was gone for a college visit. That changed the lineup a bit in the season opener, but with her back the Bears have beaten Platte County for the first time in program history and then blanked Fort Osage.

Senior day meant a lot to Ashurst, who picked up the sport in sixth grade alongside her best friend Emma, who is the No. 6 singles player for the Bears.

“We have kept it together and we have been playing together since,” said Ashurst, who is now 2-0 on the year in singles and has the same record in doubles play. “I played basketball up until then but it wasn’t really my thing. I didn’t have a lot of fun with it. I just played tennis and I liked it because it was a team sport and an individual sport.”

Now, she is weighing her options to continue playing tennis in college.

The Bears, coming off a fourth-place finish at their home tournament last week, are in a stretch of three games in three-days starting with this matchup. Matches against Oak Park and Kearney were set to follow.

The Bears, coming off a fourth-place finish at their home tournament last week, are in a stretch of three games in three-days starting with this matchup. Matches against Oak Park and Kearney were set to follow.