PARKERSBURG -If the Parkersburg High School tennis program plays its cards right, a minimum of 13 out of a possible 14 entries between the boys and girls division could secure a berth for next week's state tournament.
Beginning at 3:30 p.m. today at Erickson All-Sports Facility and continuing at 8 a.m. on Friday, the Big Reds are seeded to advance in every bracket minus No. 4 girls singles. Every PHS entry is seeded either No. 1 or No. 2.
University could throw a curve in the girls bracket where five entries earned the top seed. On the boys side, Morgantown and Parkersburg South will have a say on who wraps up qualifying spots.
"The University girls are packed with a bunch of seniors and excellent players," PHS coach Pam Reeves said. "But my kids are as motivated as any group and their goal is to get back to the state tournament. It's all about tradition."
South's best opportunity to qualify in their respective brackets are Grant Tebay (No. 1 singles), and Garrett Dailey (No. 2 singles), along with Tebay and Dailey at No. 1 doubles.
Last week at the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference, the Patriots' boys squad finished runner-up to Morgantown.
Class AAA, Region I Tennis Meet
Where: At Erickson All-Sports Facility
When: 3:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 a.m. Friday (Saturday rain date)
Who: Parkersburg, Parkersburg South, Brooke, John Marshall, Morgantown, University, Wheeling Park
"The guys did pretty well as a pre-warmup for this meet," South coach Scott Ash said. "As far as playing on our home courts at Erickson, the kids know the wind so that should give them an advantage.
"We also felt like we had an advantage at the OVAC Meet playing in the (Wheeling Park tennis bubble) since it was like playing indoors at Greenmont. It wasn't quite exactly the same, but we were able to take advantage of the court speed and size."
For PHS, the boys and girls are equally as strong. Cassandra Powell (No. 1 singles), Sydney Stansberry (No. 2 singles) and Katie Gnegy (No. 3 singles), along with Powell and Olson at No. 1 doubles and Stansberry and Gnegy at No. 2 are seeded second, while Ashley Casto and Verena Hohe are the top seed at No. 3 doubles.
Favored to win their bracket on the boys side for PHS are Josh Roberts (No. 3 singles), Neema Saadevandi (No. 4 singles), Alex D'Costa and Tris Spitsnaugle at No. 1 doubles, Saadevandi and Rhone Thrash at No. 2 doubles and Roberts and Landon Wells at No. 3 doubles. D'Costa (No. 1 singles) and Spitsnaugle (No. 2 singles) earned a No. 2 seed.
"We've played in the neighborhood of 18 matches and my kids are ready to go to the next challenge," Reeves said. "With the girls, I'm amazed because essentially Cassandra was the only player coming back from last year and they have all stepped into their roles."