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Great Bends young tennis team takes trio to 5A state meet
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GODDARD — Great Bend High School made a youth movement in girls tennis this season, capped by freshman singles player Morgan Francis and sophomore doubles players Jami McVay and Brianna Schartz competing in their first Class 5A state tournament.
All three were eliminated on the first day of competition on Friday at Goddard, located outside of Wichita.
Despite their early exits, the emergence of the trio signals that the program will get nothing but better in coming seasons.
“We played pretty well,” Great Bend head coach Shannon Schartz said. “There is just a lot of good teams out there.
“We’ve taken it up a whole different level from last year to get to state and the girls can see now that they’re going to have to take it up another level, which we’re capable of, to be competitive at state.”
Both the McVay/Brianna Schartz combination, along with Francis, were eliminated after each competing in two matches. The doubles duo drew a first-round bye after finishing second the week before in a regional at Salina Central. That was followed up with a losses to Morgan Hicks and Carri Olberding of St. Thomas Aquinas, 6-2, 6-4, and Jessi Alexander and Payton Meyer of Blue Valley, 9-4.
Francis played Taylor Westrom of Olathe South in her first match, losing 6-2, 6-2. In her second, she won 9-8 (7-2) in a tiebreaker against Jessica Thompson of Shawnee Heights, although her first-match loss knocked her out of medal competition.
“It was really good for the girls to get to state,” Shannon Schartz said of all three making their first appearance.
“There’s a lot of nerves involved and the pageantry. To get through it and see what it’s like and experience, it’s going to help our players over the next few years.”

Class 5A
State Tournament
Saturday at Goddard

Team scores

Wichita Kapaun 48, Wichita Carroll 36 1/2, St. Thomas Aquinas 32, Blue Valley Stilwell 31 1/2, Salina Central 14 1/2, Blue Valley Southwest 12, Andover 12, Salina South 11, Valley Center 8, Andover Central 8, Hays 7, SM Miege 6, Topeka West 4, Arkansas City 3, Great Bend 1 1/2, Newton 1, Topeka Seaman 1/2, Winfield 1/2.
Championship—Stevens, Wichita Kapaun, def. Looney, St. Thomas Aquinas, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0. Third place—Steffes, Blue Valley Stillwell, def. Schulte, Wichita Kapaun, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6). Fifth place—Lubbers, Wichita Carroll, def. Oxler, Wichita Carroll, 9-0. Seventh place—O’Farrell, Blue Valley Southwest, def. Fugit, Andover Central, 9-6. Ninth place—Mitchell, Salina South, def. Orlanes, St. Thomas Aquinas, 9-5. 11th place—Sellers, Valley Center, def. Westrom, Blue Valley Southwest, 9-5.
Semifinals—Stevens, Wichita Kapaun, def. Steffes, Blue Valley Stilwell, 6-4, 6-2; Looney, St. Thomas Aquinas, def. Schulte, Wichita Kapaun, 6-3, 6-4.
Baldwin-Pringle, Wichita Kapaun, def. Feldkamp-Lauer, Wichita Carroll, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Third place—Briggs-Morris, Salina Central, def. Mihelic-White, Andover, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1). Fifth place—Hicks-Olberding, St. Thomas Aquinas, def. Alexander-Meyer, Blue Valley Stilwell, 9-5. Seventh place—Moon-Patel, Blue Valley Stilwell, def. McRae-Wise, Hays, 9-3. Ninth place—Heyen-McArthur, SM Miege, def. Cook-Courbot, Salina South, 9-5. 11th place—Fair-Dicus, Topeka West, def. Bauguess-Seidl, Valley Center, 9-3.
Semifinals—Baldwin-Pringle, Wichita Kapaun, def. Briggs-Morris, Salina Central, 6-2, 6-3; Feldkamp-Lauer, Wichita Carroll, def. Mihelic-White, Andover, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.