By RICK PETERSON
Washburn Rural's girls tennis team finished off its sweep of city, Centennial League and Class 6A regional championships Saturday at Kossover Tennis Center.
The Junior Blues, who have not lost a competition this fall, qualified all six of its players for Friday and Saturday's state tournament at Wichita en route to a 22-19 regional victory over runner-up Manhattan.
Washburn Rural got a one-two finish in doubles from the teams of Kate Fritz and Meredith Kucera and Hailey Beck and Shelby Schmutzler while Sheriden Wichman finished second and Mena DiMarzio fifth in singles.
"I'm really proud of these gals,'' Hedberg said. "It's a team effort. We're not star-laden, but we have good solid players at the top.
"They all pull together for each other and it's been really satisfying to watch them have some success.''
Fritz and Kucera, both juniors, captured the regional doubles title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over junior Beck and senior Schmutzler in the championship match, while Wichman, a senior, advanced to the singles final, dropping a 6-1, 6-1 decision to Manhattan star Jillian Harkin. DiMarzio closed out the Junior Blues state qualifiers, finishing fifth in singles with a 6-1, 6-0 win over in the fifth-place match.
Topeka High also turned in a solid regional performance, with the Trojans qualifiying both their doubles teams for state while finishing third as a team.
Juniors Adisyn Caryl and Haley Carpenter finished fourth on Saturday, dropping a 6-3, 7-5 decision to Manhattan in the third-place match while senior Mary Dietrick and sophomore McCall Beall finished sixth, dropping a three-set decision in the fifth-place match.
Dieterick and Beall turned in what was arguably the match of the two-day tournament, surviving a 3 hour, 40-minute three-set match on Friday to punch their ticket to state.
"In over 50 seasons of coaching that's got to be clearly one of my all-time favorite matches to watch, to not only see what it meant to them, but just the effort,'' Topeka High coach Duane Pomeroy said. "They were dead tired and just kept digging down deeper and deeper and going longer and longer and never gave up.
"We're really excited to be able to take four girls to state.''
CLASS 6A GIRLS TENNIS REGIONAL
Washburn Rural 22, Manhattan 19, Topeka High 7, Derby 6, Junction City 3, Wichita East 1, Wichita Heights 1, Wichita North 1.
Championship -- Harkin, Manhattan, def. Wichman, Washburn Rural, 6-1, 6-1.
Third -- Weins, Manhattan, def. Weir-Dowd, Derby, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1.
Fifth -- DiMarzio, Washburn Rural, def. Ratts, Junction City, 6-1, 6-0.
Championships -- Fritz/Kucera, Washburn Rural, def. Beck/Schmutzler, Washburn Rural, 6-3, 6-4.
Third -- Bahr/Loub, Manhattan, def. Caryl/Carpenter, Topeka High, 6-3, 7-5.
Fifth -- Craft/Zahn, Manhattan, def. Dietrick/Beall, Topeka High, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2.