HESSTON — The Hesston High School girls’ tennis team opened the area prep fall sports season with a home win Thursday at the Hesston Invitational I.
The Swathers put three of four entries in the finals, finishing unbeaten in doubles play.
Hesston edged Class 4A McPherson 27-23 for the team title. Buhler and Maize South tied for third at 17 each. Smoky Valley was fifth at 13, followed by Abilene at 12, Wichita Trinity Academy at 5 and Haven at 0.
“It is a really good way to start the season, especially with the quality of the teams that were here,” Hesston coach Travis Sebits said. “We had some girls in new positions on our team that stepped up and play well. We knew the doubles were going to come in and be strong. We had the ninth-place doubles team coming back and half the fifth-place double team coming back. We knew that would be our strength. I don’t know if we have done that in a while.”
Hesston entered the tourney ranked second in the coaches pre-season poll in Class 3-2-1A, while McPherson was second in Class 4A.
“It’s a little too early to know,” Sebits said. “There were no 3-2-1A schools here. They were all bigger schools. It’s certainly a big start — two firsts, a second and a third.”
The team of Ashley Hubbard and Makaiya Russsell finished 3-0 at first doubles to win the title. In the finals, Hubbard and Russell trailed 3-2 to Maize South’s first doubles team, but rallied for an 8-5 win.
“It went good,” Hubbard said. “Our last match against Maize went pretty well. This finish went pretty good for us.”
“We adjusted to how they played pretty well,” Russell said. “We started slow, but we adjusted from there.”
Hubbard and Russell finished ninth at Class 3-2-1A state last year.
“We want to do better than ninth this year,” Russell said. “(The state ranking) will give us some motivation. We want to live up to that.”
The two said they played during the summer, but didn’t play any tournaments.
The team of Kylie Martin and Michaela Martin won the second doubles title at 3-0, downing McPherson’s second doubles team in the finals 8-4.
Kylie Martin was fifth in state in doubles last year with Olivia Brubacher.
Hesston’s Halle Krehbiel finished second at first singles. After a pair of wins, Krehbiel faced Maisie Edminson of McPherson in the finals. Tied 3-3, Edminson won four straight games and held Krehbiel off the rest of the way for an 8-5 win.
At second singles, Mackenzie Unruh finished 2-1 to place third, winning a tie-breaker in the third-place match. An extra entry not scoring fot the team, Alexia Boles placed sixth at second singles at 1-2.
“Halle faced a very good player,” Sebits said. “We knew coming in Edminson was a strong player. Krehbiel is a sophomore. She played two singles last year. Stepping up and playing one singles is a challenge for her. She’s going to be playing everybody else’s best players.”
Hesston plays Tuesday at the Hillsboro Invitational, followed by the Maize Invitational Thursday.