PLANO – The depth of 6-6A was on display at the district tennis tournament Wednesday morning at Collin College.
With five district titles up for grabs, tennis standouts from five different 6-6A programs donned gold medals by tournament’s end after capturing district championships in their respective brackets.
“It’s showing that our district is one of the toughest in the state,” said Morgen Walker, Plano West head coach. “We win the state championship in the fall in team tennis and now Allen has just as many kids at regionals as we do.
“There are a lot of good kids in the district spread out among a lot of different schools and that showed today.”
Overall, Allen and West will each send six players to the Class 6A Region I tournament, scheduled for April 18-19 at the University of Texas at Arlington – the most of any program in 6-6A. Yet despite that figure, the Eagles and Wolves each managed just one district title apiece on Wednesday.
Standouts from Plano Senior, McKinney Boyd and McKinney all got in on the championship festivities, including Lions standout John Edwards, who captured the 6-6A title in boys singles despite entering the event seeded No. 4. Over the course of two days, Edwards bested four opponents in straight sets, including top seed Jed De Luna of Allen in the finals (6-1, 7-6).
“[De Luna] had beaten me a few times before this season, and pretty badly too,” Edwards said. “Before this, I was telling myself to stay positive and have fun, and after I won the first set I felt like what I was doing was working. Then, it was about staying consistent.”
While Edwards’ surge to the district title required toppling a couple higher-seeded opponents, Boyd’s Emma Gener backed up her standing as the No. 1 seed in girls singles in decisive fashion. Repeating as 6-6A champion, Gener dropped only one game all tournament – in the finals against Allen’s Macie Wu (6-0, 6-1)
“I’m hoping to do better than last year (at regionals) when I lost a tough three-set match in the first round,” Gener said. “I’m hoping to get further than that and I’m going to keep practicing for it.”
While Gener is no stranger to this phase of the postseason, Plano Senior’s mixed doubles pairing of Sarah Michaelis and Shun Nishitani will make the trip to regionals for the first time after ousting West’s Rohan Mogue and Alyssa Grubstein in one of two three-set matches won by the Wildcat standouts (7-5, 3-6, 6-2).
Mogue and Grubstein will still head to Arlington as district runners-up and one of three West doubles units to qualify for regionals. Ally Zhang and Divya Manohar capitalized on a playback to secure a spot in the girls doubles bracket, while Caden Moortgat and Mark Kanevsky looked the part of No. 1 seeds in winning the boys doubles draw in straight sets.
“[Moortgat and Kanevsky] came in and did what we expected them to do,” Walker said. “They took care of business, got everything in straight sets and got off the court.”
Allen’s district champion came out of girls doubles, with the duo of Joyce Tiong and Nicole Goridkov winning three matches in straight sets. Allen’s J.T. Birdsong and Trevor Cartwright won a playback for the second qualifier spot in boys doubles, while Wu and De Luna are also Arlington-bound for their respective runner-up finishes.
“I think [Tiong and Goridkov] played well,” said Justin Quest, Allen head coach. “They’ve been here before and fell short last year, so I think this was some redemption for them. They were disappointed and felt like they underachieved then, so to come back and win a district championship was something they were expecting.”