By Don Eskins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
An unsually hot day at the Cooper Tennis Complex didn’t curtail play in any way on Tuesday as 54 athletes representing nine schools battled the elements and some pretty stiff competition at the Springfield Tennis Invitational.
At stake for the field were coveted singles and doubles tournament titles.
“This tournament is primarily about individual play,” said Central High coach and tournament director Donita Cox. “But while the tourney’s emphasis is on individual play we do keep points scored by the teams and we do recognize the top three for jobs well done.”
Taking top honors in singles play in 2019 was Springfield Catholic’s Erin Jarvis. Only a junior she also won the event in 2018.
Jarvis downed Glendale freshman Lucy Huang to grab this year’s championship.
“Lucy may only be a freshman but she’s really very good. She kept me on my toes throughout the entire match,” the Irish junior said. “But I got the win and that makes me happy.”
Jarvis, now 8-0 on the year, says she still has some unfinished business on her agenda.
“Last year I finished seventh at the state tournament,” she said. “My goal for this year is to place inside the top seven.”
For Huang the Springfield Invitational was her first outing of the new year. “I didn’t have a record coming into this event,” said the Glendale freshman. “I was just looking for some good competition and I found it, especially from Erin; she’s really an awesome player.”
Central High’s Madeleine Fulk and Evelyn VanDenBerg downed Marissa Scott and Paige McCurry of Kickapoo to collect the doubles title. As with Jarvis the victory made it back to back championships for the two.
“Our semifinal match was especially tough today. But after a while we figured out what adjustments we needed to make to get the win,” said Fulk. “But being able to repeat has just been an awesome feeling, especially as seniors.”
“Getting a victory today means everything,” said VanDenBerg. “I love playing with Maddie and by winning this year it shows just what we are capable of achieving and what tennis means to us.”
This year’s top three teams were Kickapoo- 22, Springfield Catholic- 18.25 and Central- 15.5.
“Our kids really played well today but I think they expected to,” said Kickapoo head coach Eric Wilbur. “Our season still has a long way to go though and I really like where we are now. Our kids are happy and healthy and that’s two very important keys for a successful season.”
Springfield Catholic’s head coach, Martin Versteeg, was also more than pleased with his team’s effort.
“I really thought we might be in for a rough day. We were missing two of our varsity players for the tournament but our kids really stepped up to play and were very close to grabbing the win as a team.”
“Erin also played very well, as expected, so I don’t think I could be more proud of a group of girls,” said the Irish coach. Catholic won Springfield Invitationals in 2017-18.
Central High’s coach Cox said her kids showed lots of promise for what’s yet to come in 2019.
“We had two girls take first in doubles, Maddie and Evelyn, and two girls take first in the consolation final, Bradley and Addison, so I think we’d have to say we did well,” said Cox. “But besides playing some great tennis our kids conduct on the courts was great. They all represented our school well and that makes me especially proud.”
Top 4 Singles
1. Erin Jarvis – Catholic
2. Lucy Huang – Glendale
3. Asantae Haansted – Kickapoo
4. Claire Griesemer – Catholic
1. Jadyn Wersinger – Kickapoo
Top 4 Doubles
1. Evelyn VanDenBerg & Maddie Fulk – Central
2. Marissa Scott & Paige McCurry – Kickapoo
3. Esther Choe & Brynley Brotherton – Kickapoo
4. Lauren Neu & Zabelle Baron – Catholic
1. Bradley Weimer & Addison Pearman – Central