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Despite stifling heat and intermittent rain showers, the USTA Missouri Valley Segment II, Sweet 16 Championships were held June 19-21 in Kansas City. In all, 30 champions were crowned at the event.
For three days, the tennis was spread across three sites -- the Plaza Tennis Center, Rockhurst University, and the Woodside Tennis & Health Club. The competitors came from the five-state region of the USTA Missouri Valley and represented the top juniors in the section.
In the Boys 18 division, Jack Sock (Lincoln, Neb.), who came in as the defending singles champion, had very little trouble repeating his success. Sock defeated Cale Hammond (Tulsa, Okla.) 6-1, 7-5 to give him his second straight championship. As for the doubles side of the Boys 18s, Hammond and partner John Warden (Tulsa, Okla.) didn’t have any trouble taking the doubles crown, defeating Omar Aly (Edmond, Okla.) and Charlie Caris (Des Moines, Iowa) 8-1.
Last year’s Girls 18 singles champion Michelle Kedzierski (Saint Louis, Mo.) was ousted in the semifinals by Whitney Ritchie (Oklahoma City, Okla.) 7-5, 6-4. Ritchie went on to win the singles crown, defeating Haley Fournier (Leawood, Kan.) 6-1, 6-1. Ritchie was not done yet. Ritchie and Mia Lancaster (Edmond, Okla.) went on to take the Girls 18 doubles title, beating Kedzierski and Noelle Mally (Parkville, Mo.) 8-5.
In the Boys 16 division, No. 4 seed Ross Guignon (Prairie Village, Kan.) took the singles crown, defeating the number one seed Christopher Haworth (Oklahoma City, Okla.) 6-0, 6-4. Despite losing in the title match, Haworth and partner Evan McElwain (Tulsa, Okla.) were able to exact some revenge against Guignon by defeating him and his partner Casey Distaso (Edmond, Okla.) 8-2 to win the doubles crown.
In Girls’ 16, Audrey Coventry (Overland Park, Kan.) defeated Mimi Fotopoulos (Prairie Village, Kan.) 6-4, 2-0 to win the singles title after Fotopoulos retired because of an injury. Fotopoulos would come back to play in the doubles title match but was defeated with her partner Kate Vialle (Leawood, Kan.) by Ashleigh Chiaf (Edmond, Okla.) and Sydney Lehman (Saint Louis, Mo.) 8-4.
The returning champion of Boys 14, Alex Fennel (Leawood, Kan.), was hoping for a repeat this year but was met by Quinn Dippel (Lindsborg, Kan.) in the semifinals. Dippel and Fennel went at it for more than two hours, plus a three-hour rain delay, but Dippel came out victorious in the third set tiebreaker, winning the match 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6). Dippel went on to win the singles title against William Little (Joplin, Mo.) 6-1, 6-4. Fennel and Little were defeated in the doubles championship match by David Hager (Edmond, Okla.) and David Liu (Omaha, Neb.) 6-4, 6-3.
For the Girls 14 division, Madison Westby (Tulsa, Okla.) defeated last year’s singles champion Brooke Withrow (Wichita, Kan.) in a three set thriller, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2. Westby went to become a double winner as she and her partner Adrienne Jensen (Iowa City, Iowa) defeated Sara Goodwin (Mission Hills, Kan.) and Ann Pepper (Edmond, Okla.) 8-1 for the doubles crown.
The top-seeded Jackson Fine (Bixby, Okla.) had little trouble capturing the Boys 12 singles title as he defeated Zeke Clark (Tulsa, Okla.) 6-2, 6-2. Fine would go on to play in the doubles final with Carson Fournier (Leawood, Kan.). They were defeated, however, by Blake Oetting (Iowa City, Iowa.) and Will Sistrunk (Springfield, Mo.) 4-6, 7-6, 10-6.
In Girls 12 bracket, Marie Norris (Burdett, Kan.) defeated Mckinleigh Lair (Tulsa, Okla.) for the singles crown 7-5, 7-6. Norris would become the third double winner of the tournament when she and her partner Olivia Hauger (Tulsa, Okla.) defeated Lair and Morgan Brower (Le Mars, Iowa) 6-4, 6-2.
Christopher Dean (Papillion, Neb.) took the Boys 10 singles title, defeating Brady Flanagan (Overland Park, Kan.) 6-4, 6-2. Flanagan would have the last laugh, though, as he and his partner Ryan Leap (Enid, Okla.) beat Dean and Fletcher Scott (Olathe, Kan.) 8-4 to secure the doubles championship.
For Girls 10 singles it was Morgan Coppoc (Tulsa, Okla.) who came out victorious against Anna Riedmiller (Wichita, Kan.) 6-4, 7-5. But Riedmiller would come back and take the doubles title with her sister Olivia (Wichita, Kan.) as they upset the top-seeded team of Sydney Brower (Le Mars, Iowa) and Alexa Butera (Johnston, Iowa) 8-2.