By RICK PETERSON
Seaman tennis standout Lauren Sweeney enjoyed a dream 2021 season, teaming with Grace Unruh to post a perfect 36-0 record en route to the Class 5A state doubles championship.
But with Unruh moving on to college, Sweeney is on her own this fall as a senior, playing No. 1 singles for the Vikings.
So far the switch has gone well, with Sweeney 16-2 on the season after a perfect 5-0 day in Tuesday's Washburn Rural Invitational at Kossover Tennis Center.
Sweeney capped her day with an 8-3 win over Maize's Rylee Frye in the championship match, helping lead the Vikings to the team title by a 44-35 margin over host Washburn Rural.
Sweeney last played singles the first half of her freshman season but said she's satisfied with her progress.
"Singles is a lot more mentally harder and it's more running, definitely,'' Sweeney said. "Doubles with Grace was just so fun and we just jived really well together. Singles is all on you. If you miss, it's your fault.''
Sweeney used her summer to get ready to make the switch and said the transition is still ongoing.
"I'm still adjusting,'' she said. "There's a lot of things I can still improve on, but during the summer I was playing USTA tournaments and when I was taking lessons I was focused on singles more.''
With the city, United Kansas Conference, regional and state tournaments coming up, Sweeney said her focus now is on ending her high school career with a bang.
"Mentally it's just a lot more, but I enjoy tennis, I like the hot weather and I like to compete so yeah, I'm enjoying it,'' Sweeney said.
On Tuesday Sweeney was part of a perfect day for Seaman, which went 20-0 en route to winning the titles in all four divisions.
Senior Nina Del-Zio took an 8-0 win over Washburn Rural's Kayla Peters in the No. 2 singles final while sophomore Katie Krumins and freshman Molly Gorman (8-2) and senior Ella Foxhoven and junior Kate Eckert (8-1) swept the doubles titles.
Next up for city schools is Thursday's city meet at Kossover (3 p.m. start). Washburn Rural is the defending champion.
WASHBURN RURAL INVITATIONAL
Seaman 44, Washburn Rural 35, Maize 31, De Soto 24, Emporia 21, Manhattan 20, Washburn Rural No. 2 19, Derby 9, Basehor-Linwood 6.
No. 1 -- Championship: Sweeney, Seaman, def. Frye, Maize, 8-3. Third: DiMarzio, Washburn Rural, def. Keough, Emporia, 8-3. Fifth: Hellerich, De Soto, def. Schartz, Manhattan, 8-1.
No. 2 -- Championship: Del-Zio, Seaman, def. Peters, Washburn Rural, 8-0. Third: Marintez, Washburn Rural, vs. Albright, De Soto. Fifth: Duda, Maize, def. McPike, Washburn Rural, 8-4
No. 1 -- Championship: Krumins/Gorman, Seaman, def. Fritz/Kucera, Washburn Rural, 8-2. Third: Strobel/Samek, Maize, def. Beck/Evans, Washburn Rural, 8-4. Fifth: Thurston/Wollenberg, Manhattan, def. O'Brien/Collins, De Soto, 8-2.
No. 2 -- Championship: Foxhoven/Eckert, Seaman, def. Catlin/Haggard, Washburn Rural, 8-1. Third Topping/Hertzel, Maize, def. Foraker/Reynoso, Emporia, 8-4. Fifth: Hsu/Turner, Manhattan, winner by default over Fonder/Ensley, De Soto.