Bulldogs head to 4A State Tennis after eighth straight regional title; Parsons, Chanute, Labette, Pittsburg, Colgan all represented at state

INDEPENDENCE — After capturing an eighth straight regional championship, the Independence High School girls’ tennis team sets its sights on another strong performance at state competition.

The Lady Bulldogs qualified six players for this weekend’s Class 4A State Tournament, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Kossover Tennis Center in Topeka. It is the second straight year IHS will be taking six players to state.

Independence not only took the regional championship as a team last weekend on its home courts, but it also had titles in both divisions with Piper Marquez (24-7) winning the singles championship and partners Addison Julian and Kaydn King (24-7) claiming the doubles crown. Also qualifying for state for the Lady Bulldogs were Blair Dodson and Tia Gregory (13-10) with a fourth-place regional finish in doubles, as well as Browyn O’Malley (20-12) with a sixth-place finish in singles.

Since the Kansas State High School Activities Association started handing out regional trophies back in 1985, Independence has claimed a trophy every season except for one — back in 1999. That includes now a string of eight straight championships at the regional tournament.

The Lady Bulldogs will be looking to continue their winning tradition at the state level as well. Since 2001, IHS has finished in the top three of the state tournament as a team 11 times, including five championships, two runner-up finishes and four third-place trophies. Last season, Independence tied Arkansas City for second place in the final standings at state but settled for the third-place trophy in Pratt.

In all, IHS has now qualified at least one player for the state tournament in 45 consecutive years.

Parsons finished as the runner-up behind Independence last weekend at the Class 4A Independence Regional Tournament.

The Lady Vikings qualified four of their six players for state competition this weekend, including both singles players — Gracen Friess and Ally Hicks. Friess finished as the regional runner-up to Marquez of Independence and heads into the state tournament with a 20-4 overall record. Hicks took third place at regionals and will take a 21-7 overall record to Topeka.

Joining Friess and Hicks at state for Parsons will be the doubles team of Xzavea Womack-Johnson and Kelsey Smith. The senior duo was the regional runner-up behind Julian and King and will head to the state tournament with a 19-9 mark.

Chanute, which took third place as a team at regionals, will be represented at 4A State by three players — Kori Babcock (14-6) in singles and Shayla Bogle/Taylor Thompson (14-15) in doubles. Both of those entries took fifth place at regionals.

Also representing the SEK at state from the Independence Regional will be the Labette County doubles team of Lexi Baughman and Paige Burleigh, who finished in third place last weekend. They will take a 27-4 overall record to Topeka.

Class 4A State Qualifiers

CLASS 5A (ST. JAMES ACADEMY REGIONAL)

LENEXA — Pittsburg has one state qualifier this season after competition at the Class 5A Regional hosted by St. James Academy.

Senior Nicole Konopelko will be the Purple Dragons’ lone state representative after capturing sixth place in singles at regionals. She will head into this weekend’s state competition with a 20-11 overall record.

The Class 5A State Tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at the Emporia High School Tennis Courts in Emporia.

Class 5A State Qualifiers

CLASS 3-2-1A (CONWAY SPRINGS REGIONAL)

CONWAY SPRINGS — St. Mary’s Colgan will be represented at state competition by two individuals this weekend.

Junior Madilynn Maple and senior Liberty Vogel captured sixth place in doubles last weekend at the Class 3-2-1A Conway Springs Regional Tournament. The pair will take a 17-10 overall record in doubles into state competition.

The Class 3-2-1A State Tournament is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Walter Blake Tennis Complex in Pratt.

Class 3-2-1A State Qualifiers