It wasn’t an easy road.
The Barton Community College women’s tennis team overcame several tiebreakers to take third place at the National Junior College Athletic Association Region VI Tournament to qualify for the national tournament.
Still, it came down to the competition’s final match.
“It was exciting,” Barton head coach Lyle Stickney said. “It came down to our very last match on Saturday. We were tied up with Seward at 11 1/2 points apiece. Whoever won that last doubles match was qualifying. In fact, the coach from Johnson County coined it the $6,000 match.
“The most thrilling thing of all was that we played seven super tiebreakers and won every single one of them.”
Barton finished with 13 points, putting it ahead of Seward, which totaled 12.5.
Johnson County won the regional competition with 23 points, and Cowley took second with 18.
“It was nice,” Stickney said. “Every kids’ points counted that way. We played Seward four times head to head. It was exciting.”
While it was exciting, the final match was also nerve-racking.
“We were all a nervous wreck,” Barton freshman Aspen McCann said. “We were all at the fence. We just watched and waited. It got down to the very last point and they were in the tiebreaker and they had a good lead, but we were still a nervous wreck.
“We were just hoping and hoping that they would win it, and they did.”
Now, it’s on to the next level.
The NJCAA Division I Women’s Tennis National Championship will start on May 5 at Jim Reffkin Tennis Center in Tucson, Ariz.
“It’s going to be pretty rugged,” Stickney said. “There’s some very quality teams in there. I don’t know how many, but hopefully we’ll live to see a few days of play.”
The Lady Cougars said they are looking forward to the competition.
“I’m so glad to go to nationals,” Barton No. 1 singles player Karina Ono said. “This is my first year, and this is something special for me and our team. I think that I had a good experience (at the regional competition). I played well.
“When I got here (at Barton), that was my objective. Now I’ve got it, so I hope to have a good result.”
JUNIOR COLLEGE TENNIS
National Junior College Athletic Association Region VI Tournament
No. 1 singles — Karina Ono, 9-3
No. 2 singles — Michelle Miller, 7-5
No. 3 singles — Darri Beckwith, 6-4
No. 4 singles — Aspen McCann, 5-6
No. 5 singles — Jamie Christiansen, 5-5
No. 6 singles — Gentry McLeland, 6-3
No. 1 doubles — Ono & Miller, 7-4
No. 2 doubles — Beckwith & McCann, 5-4
No. 3 doubles — Christiansen & McLeland, 5-4