BHS seniors qualify for state as doubles team
After nearly a three-hour match, Baldwin High School seniors Katie Beall and Kristen Ferris qualified for the state tennis tournament Monday.
"It was a real nice way to finish a long day of tennis," coach Ginny Honomichl said.
Baldwin hosted the Class 4A regional meet. The Bulldogs were able to send their No. 1 doubles team to state, as Beall and Ferris captured third place.
After winning their first round match quickly, Beall and Ferris ran into a tough opponent in the second round.
"It felt really satisfying after such a struggle," Beall said of the win. "They didn't seem like they were going to be that formidable of an opponent, but nerves started kicking in."
The match took nearly three hours to finish, but Baldwin won in the third set, 3-6, 7-6(9-7), 7-5.
"After three hours, I cried I was so happy," Ferris said. "I felt so much better after we won. I felt like I could have some fun now. We were able to relax a lot more."
Honomichl said she had trouble watching the second-round match, because she had only seen Beall and Ferris play once this season.
"I have seen them compete one time," Honomichl said. "I am not conditioned to watch the ups and downs. It was hard on me mentally and emotionally."
With time becoming an issue for the meet, the Bulldog doubles team were given a short rest before their next match. They lost to Topeka-Hayden, but then defeated a DeSoto team in the third-place match.
Beall said the last two matches were important, but the pressure wasn't on them as it was earlier in the day.
"It felt like there was a lot less pressure," Beall said. "We were playing for seeding, but we knew we had already qualified for state."
Other Bulldogs that competed Monday were junior Mary Clippinger, senior Andrea Hamilton, junior Gen Busby and senior Rose Garrison.
Clippinger lost in the first round in a tough three-set match. Hamilton was defeated in the feeder round. Busby and Garrison also lost in a three-set match in the first round.
Baldwin will begin play in the state tournament Friday in Topeka. The Bulldogs are looking to win their first match to at least get a state medal.
"We are hoping to medal," Ferris said. "For now my goal is to take the first match and go from there."
Beall and Ferris will rely on their superstitions as they have all season.
"We have to eat a piece of beef jerky before every match," Beall said. "We almost forgot to do it before our last match. Kristin's necklace is lucky and we make wishes on it."
Honomichl knows Beall and Ferris have the potential to place high at state, if they are able to play well together.
"Those two young ladies could be anybody if they ever got to the point to where they played well at the same time for an extended period of time," Honomichl said. "They struggle playing well together at the same time, which is really the success of doubles."