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Senior duo is Chrisman's first to earn state tennis berth

Grain Valley sends three to state; Blue Springs' Allie Brown also advances to state tourney

By The Examiner staff
William Chrisman doubles team Tori Gant and Kiara Ashurst celebrate after finishing second in the Class 2 District 8 tournament and becoming the first Chrisman players to advance to the state tournament.

The William Chrisman girls tennis team has never had anyone qualify for the state tournament.

Tori Gant and Kiara Ashurst changed that Friday.

The senior duo made it to the Class 2 District 8 doubles finals before falling 6-3, 6-4 to Kintzli Wagner and Megan Griffin of St. Pius X in the championship match at Kearney High School.

With the second-place finish, Gant and Ashurst will play in the individual state doubles tournament starting Oct. 15 in Springfield.

“To be honest, I will take ownership of their so-so play in the first set of the championship but they had tons of chances to put away volleys in the second set that ended up costing them the championship,” Chrisman coach Jason Grubb said. “Again, I think they were too excited for qualifying for state in a couple of weeks that the district championship match they did not play to their full potential, but we will make some corrections moving forward.”

Gant and Ashurst claimed a 6-1, 6-4 win over a Kearney team in the first round and then edged Platte County’s Sophie Curtis and Anna Murray 6-3, 7-5 in the semifinals to earn their trip to state.

Chrisman nearly got two more state qualifiers but Krystal Olson and Laurie Douglas each fell in their singles semifinals match, one win away from a state berth. Douglas topped her teammate 8-4 in the third-place match as each earned all-district medals.

After winning long quarterfinal matches, they face the top two seeds. Douglas lost 6-4, 6-1 to No. 1 singles seed Molly McBratney of Platte County in the semifinal. Olson took No. 2 seed Sara Dillon of Kearney to a third set before Dillon won 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.

“The play of Laurie Douglas and Krystal Olson cannot be understated as well,” Grubb said.

Chrisman’s other doubles team of Emma Place and Emily Mendoza won 8-2 in the first round but fell 6-1, 6-0 to the eventual champion St. Pius X team in the quarterfinals.

CLASS 2 DISTRICT 7: Grain Valley will send one doubles team and a singles player to state after the Eagles claimed berths in Friday’s Class 2 District 7 Tournament at Grain Valley High School.

Chelsea Gorden and Finley LaForge rallied from a 6-0 first-set loss and a 5-2 deficit in the final set, eking out an 11-9 tiebreaker win to capture the district championship with an 0-6, 6-1, 7-6 (11-9) victory over Addison Vance and Sophia Ong of Notre Dame de Sion.

They had already qualified for state with a semifinal win over Notre Dame de Sion’s Audrey O’Brien and Lindsey Dougherty.

Kennedi McCord also earned a state berth with a semifinal win over Belton’s Julia Smith. She finished 2-1 when Warrensburg’s Jessica Snare edged her 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 in the singles championship.

“A great day for us,” Grain Valley coach Randy Draper said. “Three qualified for state and all our kids played well.”

Kylee Bragaw finished 1-1 in singles and the other doubles team of Bailey Jinkens and Emma Ireland also went 1-1.

CLASS 3 DISTRICT 7: Blue Springs junior Allie Brown claimed a state berth, finishing second in singles in the Class 2 District 7 tournament Friday at Park Hill High School.

Brown advanced to state with a semifinal win over Allie beat Annamarie Hotze of St. Teresa’s Academy before losing 6-0, 6-0 to Helen Hendricks of Pembroke Hill in the singles championship.

All other Blue Springs players fell in the first round.

Blue Springs South failed to advance anyone to state as both singles players and doubles teams all went 1-1 with losses in the quarterfinals.

Ashley Cooper and Natalie Nelson each won first-round singles matches but lost in the quarterfinals. The doubles squads of Sumerlyn Vorachek and Molly Wells and Abby Klassen also won in the first round but were eliminated with quarterfinal losses.

CLASS 3 DISTRICT 6: Kelly Connolly finished fourth in singles play and the doubles team of Riley Young and Kristina Parrish each finished fourth to claim medals but North failed to advance anyone to the state tournament in the Class 3 District 6 tournament Friday at Joplin.

Connolly fell in the third-place match to Lee’s Summit West’s Chloe Sabin, who defeated North’s Sarah Green in the quarterfinals.

Morgan McGurk and Katie Langle took their doubles quarterfinal to three sets before falling to a team from Lee’s Summit.

Lee’s Summit West’s doubles team of Olivia Berens and Alana Freeman claimed the title and a state berth, and the Titans’ Tristen Caskey also advanced with a second-place singles finish.