Excitement surrounded the Gerald Printing 5th Region Tennis Tournament at the Freeman Lake Tennis Complex on Friday as the winners of each match punched a ticket to the Top Seed Tennis Club/KHSAA State Championships.
The semifinals will be played at 4:30 p.m. Monday with the four championship matches at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Elizabethtown’s No. 5 seed Anastasia Newsome won her match against Central Hardin’s No. 4 seed Annie Yates 6-4, 6-0.
“I’ve always had a block when I get to quarters and I’ve lost every single year so I’m just really humbled right now,” Newsome said.
This will be her first year competing in the state championships.
Yates defeated Newsome in the conference tournament.
“I really wanted to foucs on my mentality so I went out there and told myself to have fun,” Newsome said.
She said she tried to not get complacent.
Going into the state tournament, Newsome said she wants to stay focused and have fun like she did in the region quarterfinals.
“It’s a really good sport,” Newsome said. “It builds your character overall.”
Newsome will face No. 2 seed Hanna Bansemir of LaRue County in the semifinals. Bansemir defeated North Hardin’s No. 5 seed Camryn Becker, 6-3, 6-0.
The No. 1 seed in the girls singles, North Hardin’s Addison Sutton downed Elizabethtown’s Meg Fiepke, 6-1, 6-1 and will battle Central Hardin’s Hadley Jones in the next round. Jones came away with a victory over Marion County’s Ireland Cassidy, 6-2, 6-0.
In the girls doubles, Elizabethtown’s Ann Bell and Abby Henson defeated North Hardin’s Katelyn Edwards and Julieann Gillespie, 6-2, 6-0. They will battle Central Hardin’s Tatum Cox and Riley Reed in the semifinals. Cox and Reed came away with the 6-1, 7-5 win over Campbellsville’s Kaylyn Smith and Lainey Watson.
Cox and Reed have never been to the state tournament before and this is also their first year playing together.
“We tried our best to stay as loose and competitive as possible. The girls we played were really good,” Cox said.
“We try our best to keep each other positive,” Reed said.
Over the season, Cox said that they’ve worked to overcome adversity when they got down early in matches. Both reiterated how important the support from their families and friends were to help them reach this point in the post season.
“Knowing that you have people that are supporting you and wanting you to succed means a lot,” Reed said.
Central Hardin’s Sarah Jiranek and Mallory Vowels are moving on after defeating John Hardin’s Briana Harness and Summer McCune in the quarters, 6-4, 6-3. Next, they will meet North Hardin’s Karina Carrasquillo and Lesleigh Lowman, who advanced after beating Elizabethtown’s Ashton Bailey and Heather Mooney, 6-0, 6-1.
The top seed in boys singles, Taylor County’s Ettore Pavesi faced John Hardin’s Spencer McCune and defended his No. 1 seeding with a 6-2, 6-0 victory.
“I feel good. Everything is new to me so I’m excited to play at the state tournament,” said Pavesi, who is from Italy.
“I think I’m improving a lot because in Italy they play on clay courts and here they are so much faster so I’m starting to understand how to play on this type of court,” Pavesi said.
He will meet the Bruins’ Thor Newsome, who advanced after a close victory against LaRue County’s Clay Cecil, 6-4, 7-5.
Cooper Parks from Taylor County won in the quarters against Bardstown’s Will Rapier 6-1, 6-0. Parks will meet Elizabethtown’s Matthew Smith in the next round. Smith won his match against Central Hardin’s Allan Lockwood, 6-4, 6-1.
“Consistency was the main shot that brought me to victory,” Smith said.
This is Smith’s second time going to state.
Last year, Smith drew the No. 5 seeded player in the state tournament and won one game. This year he hopes to advance deeper into the tournament.
The top seed in the boys doubles, Elizabeththown’s Suleman Khan and Jared Towell survived and advanced 6-1, 6-2 against Marion County’s Collin Abell and Bennett Lucas.
Khan and Towell will meet No. 3 seed Caden Doty and Camden Jones from Central Hardin. Doty and Jones downed Taylor County’s Tanner Parks and Tyler Perkins, 6-2, 6-2. Doty is going back to the state tournament and for Jones, this will be his first time.
“It took us a little bit to get connected, but once we did we couldn’t stop,” Jones said.
Doty and Jones credited their opponent for giving them a good match.
“They played really well overall,” Doty said. “The score does not tell anything about how they played. They are really good opponents.”
Marion County’s Hank Hardin and Bryce Spalding won their match — over LaRue County’s Greenwell and Knox — without giving up a game.
They will meet Central Hardin’s No. 2 seed, Braden Bybee and Keegan Christensen in the next round. Bybee and Christensen stopped Elizabethtown’s Matthew Barnes and Ethan Jackson, 6-2, 6-1.
Central Hardin leads the boys standings with 11 points. Taylor County follows with nine, Elizabethtown eight, LaRue County six and Marion County five.
“Everyone played really well today, even the couple kids that lost,” Central Hardin Coach Jeff Crady said. “It was nice because they played up to what I expected them too and today they all stepped up and did a really good job.”
The Lady Bruins’ 11 points lead Elizabethtown and North Hardin by one point each. LaRue County has six points.
“It’s been a really competitive region,” Crady said. “It’s been a really good, fun, positive atmosphere. It makes it a lot more fun when it is like that.”