BHS tennis squad qualifies for state
After a year off, the Baldwin High School girls tennis team will return to the Class 4A State Tournament in full force.
All six members of the team qualified for the state tourney Monday during regional play in Baldwin. Last year, BHS qualified its two doubles teams for state, but no singles.
Not so this year and that can be attributed to some youth and some experience. BHS tennis coach Ginny Honomichl expected that most of the team would advance to state, based on the success they've had throughout the fall season.
"I really felt strongly that we'd get five of six, but I'm really pleased that Sarah Beaulieu made it," said Honomichl. "We had all six players got two years ago, but last year we just had the two doubles teams."
This year the doubles entries squared off in the finals. It was four Baldwin High players on the same court for first and second. Senior Colleen Kivett and junior Holly Oakleaf topped the younger tandem of Carissa Venable and Jamie Lawrenz for first place. But, second and a trip to state isn't anything to sneeze at.
Joining Beaulieu as a singles entry at state will be Kalie Harris. Harris finished first in the competition and Beaulieu was fourth. The top four finishers advance to state. This year, that tournament will be in Pratt.
Honomichl knew this year's team would be good, because only one senior Suzie Weege was lost from last year's crew. But, she wasn't sure how the young players would come through. Now she does.
"I wasn't sure about everyone," she said. "Our sophomores really came through for us. Kalie Harris and Jamie Lawrenz really came through for us. It looks good for the future."
As for the team title at Monday's BHS Class 4A Regional, it wasn't even close. Out of the 10 teams that took to the courts at BHS and Baker University, Baldwin High waxed them. BHS finished first with 16 points, followed by a distant second-place showing by Fort Scott with seven. Lansing was third with four points and there was a group of teams tied for fourth with three points. It fell from there.
Hosting regionals can be a blessing and a curse, according to Honomichl, but obviously it worked out well for Baldwin High this year.
"It's good mostly, because I sort of think it is because you can keep your routine," she said. "We get to sleep in our own beds and play on our own courts. But, from a coaching standpoint, it can make a difference. Luckily I have enough good volunteers here to run the tournament so I can coach the girls. We have quality help running the tournament so I don't have to worry about it."
Another thing Honomichl won't worry about is the distance to this year's state tourney in Pratt. The girls have never had to travel so far to compete, but there's a midway point to stay at with the Oakleafs. BHS will make it out to western Kansas and be glad to be there.
"Oh, yes, we're happy to make the trip," said Honomichl.
The state tournament gets under way Friday. Actual play should begin around noon. The tournament will pick up again Saturday around 9 a.m.