Nixa beats conference rival Republic to win Class 3 District 5 championship


By Don Eskins (For

The Nixa Eagles slipped past the upset-minded Republic Tigers 5-3, on Wednesday, Oct. 4th, to claim this year’s Class 3 District 5 Tennis Championship. The match took place at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield.

It was the second time the two teams have faced off this season. Earlier this year the Eagles edged the Tigers 5-4.

“We have a lot of respect for Republic, and having already played them once, we knew that today’s district final would probably be another close one,” said Nixa head coach Brock Blansit. “But I was really excited to see our girls come out on top. They’re a great group of young ladies, and they have worked very hard this season. They certainly deserved to walk off the courts today as district champions.”

Following doubles play, the Eagles held on to a slim 2-1 edge as the two schools moved into singles play. And, as expected, the level of competition escalated.

“The level of competition did increase. However, as play progressed, we began to struggle some which was exactly what we didn’t need to do against Republic,” said the Nixa coach. “But we had two girls step up big for us today. Jocelyn Cosgrove grabbed a win during the middle of our match and Audrey Martens finished it off.”

“Both of these girls won their matches, in third set tie breakers, to put us over the top,” said Blansit. “As their coach, I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

While Cosgrove’s win put the Eagles back in contention, Martens victory handed the Eagles the 2023 district title.

After having dropped her first set 3-6, Martens stormed back to win the second 6-2 and the tie breaker 10-2.

“My match was so stressful I cried when it was over. But I get that way when matches mean so much to our team,” said Martens. “Yesterday, I was so worried about today’s district meet with the Tigers, I didn’t get any sleep at all last night.”


“But I’m so happy that we got the win today,” she said. “It feels really great knowing that we’re district champions.”

Abbey Fulnecky credited the win to Nixa’s mental toughness and positive attitude and said that the victory was more than just great. It was special.

“I’m a senior this year. Knowing that, in my final year as a student at Nixa High, I’m a district champion is a very special feeling,” said Fulnecky.

While Republic may have come up short in their quest for this year’s district title, in no way did it dampen what has been a very good year of tennis for the Tigers.

“We’ve had a great year but our kids have worked hard for it too,” said Republic head coach David Smashey. “We weren’t the same team, at the beginning of the season, that we are today. Besides all of the hard work they put in, they pulled together and became a real team.”

“You know we almost beat a very good Nixa team today. That says a lot about our kids,” he said. “We wish the Eagles the best of luck at sectionals.”

The lessons learned on a tennis court transcend more than just sports. Republic senior Mari Davidson has learned a very important one.

“Tennis has been so much fun. I’ll never forget all the friends I’ve made as a member of the Tigers,” she said. “I wish we could have won today but life doesn’t always go the way you want it to. And when it doesn’t you just have to keep moving forward.”

The Eagles will now be moving on to compete at sectionals. TBD.

District Champion Nixa Eagles: 1. Emily Peterson, 2. Abbey Fulnecky, 3. Jocelyn Cosgrove, 4. Sailor Powley, 5. Audrey Martens and 6. Paige Morris.

District Runner up Republic Tigers: 1. Mari Davidson, 2. Lilly Carlo, 3. Matilyn Carpenter, 4. Ellayna Woodward, 5. Ella Lashley, 6. Katelyn Teeter and 7. Monica Henry.

Related Posts