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Friday, Sep. 14, 2012

East girls capture two tennis team titles

The Kansas City Star

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Led by senior Hannah Heaton and junior Mollie Magee, Olathe East’s girls tennis team captured two teams championships last week.

“It was a good week for us, a good week to be a Hawk,” coach Jeff Hulse said. “I wasn’t surprised we won. My expectations are we can compete with anybody, so it wasn’t a surprise, but it was a very good accomplishment. I knew if we played our best we could win those two tournaments.”

The Hawks won the Emporia Girls Tennis Tournament team championship last Saturday — beating the host Spartans, Blue Valley Northwest, Lawrence, Maize and Topeka High. On Wednesday, Olathe East — also 4-0 in duals — also won the Topeka High Invitational, finishing with 46 team points and nipping the host Trojans by nine. Olathe South, Lawrence, Topeka West, SM North and Topeka Seaman rounded out that field.

“The girls are playing very well and keep getting better and better,” Hulse said.

At Emporia, Heaton and Magee, who reached state together a year ago, finished first in the doubles competition, which helped the Hawks finish with 54 teams points and edge the Huskies by a single point for the crown.

Sophomore Courtney Child and junior Emily Don teamed up for third place in doubles, while sophomore Erica Chang claimed third singles and senior Evelyn Vila wound up seventh in a field of 16.

Four days later, Magee and Heaton laid claim to another gold medal in the No. 1 doubles bracket, while Child and junior Carley Mitus earned the No. 2 doubles title.

Meanwhile, in singles, Chang claimed first in No. 1 singles and Vila snagged second in No. 2 singles.

“It’s excellent for them to win those two tournaments,” Hulse said. “We have done well in our duals as well, but we’ve got some tough ones coming up with Blue Valley Northwest and Shawnee Mission East next week. Those will be a good measuring stick for us.

“But I’m very excited and pleased with how well we’ve started this year, especially after graduating six seniors. We lost some depth and experience, but we’ve had a lot of young girls step in and step up.”

Judd, ONW grab Sunflower League lead

Olathe Northwest junior Audrey Judd won the Lawrence Invitational and nabbed a 3-shot lead in the race for the Sunflower League individual championship Thursday with a 2-over par 72 at Alvamar Golf Course in Lawrence.

Judd tied with two Blue Valley North golfers, sophomore Jean Tyrell and senior Natalie Curran, for the low round and was awarded first place on a scorecard playoff.

“She expects to win every time, so she certainly expected to win,” ONW coach Mardy Ortman said. “She had a great summer playing national tournaments, so it’s something she’s been taking very serious.”

Making her season debut, senior Cassie Wang, who finished fifth overall at 77, helped the Ravens to a fourth-place team finish at 343.

“Cassie’s been our No. 1 golfer for three years, but it was nice to have her back,” Ortman said. “She’s had some other priorities. For her first tournament, she hadn’t played a round of golf since July, I was pretty happy to see her shoot 77.”

Officially, BV North won the meet with a 331 score, edging St. Thomas Aquinas by 2 shots and Washburn Rural by 5 strokes.

But more important for Olathe Northwest, that 343 team score was good enough to stake the Ravens to a three-stroke lead in the Sunflower League team race.

The Lawrence Invitational served as the first of three legs that will determine the league title.

SM East checked in second (346) led by junior Anne Willman, who shot 79 and sits third in the league’s individual race.

The Ravens and Lancers — as well as Judd, Wang and Willman — have built early leads.

No other league golfer shot better than 85, while Lawrence sits in third place at 380.

“We need the next two tournaments not to get rained out, because if we have to use the league backup, where Cassie didn’t play for us and Shawnee Mission East beat us by about 30 strokes, we can’t win,” Ortman said.

Primed to make a run at All-Sunflower League honors, Olathe North’s Megan Manning sits in sixth (86), while Olathe South’s Bailey Gibson is eighth (88) and Olathe East’s Nicole Pickett is ninth (90).

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.

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