Locals faring well at tennis regionals

WHEELING – A total of seven entries for Parkersburg High School have secured a berth for next week’s state tournament, while another four bids are still at large for the Big Reds upon completion of the first day of the Class AAA, Region I Tennis Tournament conducted Thursday at West Liberty University.

Qualifying for the boys side for PHS are Saaman Ghodsi (No. 1 singles), Alexander D’Costa (No. 2 singles), Tristram Spitsnaugle (No. 3 singles) and the No. 1 doubles team of Ghodsi and D’Costa.

Still holding out hope are Josh Roberts at No. 4 singles and the No. 3 doubles team of Rhone Thrash and Landon Wells, who both need another win to punch their ticket.

The same holds true for the Big Reds’ Amber Kesterson at No. 2 singles, Sydney Stansberry at No. 4 singles and the No. 3 doubles team of Kristen Calebaugh and Jennifer Riffle.

Otherwise, PHS will be represented at state by Cassandra Powell (No. 1 singles) and Sheridan White (No. 3 singles), along with the No. 1 doubles team of Powell and Kesterson and the No. 2 double team of Katie Stanley and Katie Gnegy.

While PHS is tied with University in the team standings at the halfway mark, Parkersburg South has clinched slots at state for Brandon Galici (No. 1 singles) and Grant Tebay (No. 3 singles), along with the No. 1 doubles team of Galici and Garrett Dailey.

Also for the Patriots, Regan Hanlon is one win away from advancing at No. 2 singles.

Class AA/A, Region IV

PARKERSBURG – Charleston Catholic proved to be Williamstown’s nemesis on the first day of the Class AA/A, Region IV Tennis Tournament Thursday at City Park.

The two schools went head-to-head in the championship matches in all three divisions for doubles and the Irish claimed all three titles. However, not all was lost for the Yellowjackets as two entries qualified for next week’s state tournament.

Advancing for Williamstown at No. 1 doubles were Luke Flanagan and Aaron Leo, and punching their ticket at No. 2 doubles were Ryan Leo and Alex Gedon.

Flanagan and Aaron Leo dropped just four games while winning their first two matches but lost to Charleston Catholic’s Mark Cassis and Jad Malas 8-4 in the finals.

Aaron Leo will be making his debut in doubles at the state level.

“Just another year at state – hopefully, we get further than we did last year,” said Flanagan, who finished 1-1 in his only other previous trip to state in doubles.

A representative from Huntington St. Joseph gave Ryan Leo and Gedon fits in the quarterfinals before the Yellowjackets emerged with an 8-5 victory. After winning 8-0 in the semifinals, Williamstown actually led Charleston Catholic’s Scott Standish and Zach Casto 1-0 before losing 8-2.

“We went to deuce a lot,” Ryan Leo and Gedon both said. The duo also qualified for state last year as a doubles team.

At No. 3 doubles, Garrett Wilson and Muhammad Kingson were shut out 8-0 by Charleston Catholic’s Ben Canfield and Noah Cable. Only the champion in their bracket qualified for state.

The Yellowjackets now set direct their attention today’s singles draw where Flanagan, Aaron Leo and Ryan Leo are seeded to advance. Gedon’s story is more involved. He missed part of the season after undergoing an appendectomy but figures to give the No. 4 singles bracket his best shot.

“When I returned to the court (after the appendectomy), one of my first matches was against the kid from Poca who I will play in the first round Friday,” Gedon said. “I lost to him 8-5, but that was my second match back and I could still feel my stitches. I’ll surprise him.”

In the girls division, Charleston Catholic duplicated its male counterparts and won championships in all three brackets.

Parkersburg Catholic’s Jillie Wiseman and Erica Tracewell just missed qualifying at No. 1 doubles. Their third-place match with a squad from Chapmanville went to a tiebreaker which the Crusaderettes lost 9-8 (7-5).

Class AA/A, Region I

PARKERSBURG-An earlier win over Weir’s Emily Giordano (8-0) punched her ticket to next week’s state tournament, but Ritchie County’s Vernonica Mueller had other things on her mind.

“It (the win) takes a load off my mind, but my goal is to win the region, not just qualify for state,” said Mueller, who reached the finals in both singles and doubles a year ago. “There’s still a lot of tennis that needs to be played and the pressure is still there, primarily because of my own expectations.”

Those expectations continued to mount as the Rebels’ No. 1 singles player advanced to today’s championship match with a hard-fought, 8-2 win over East Fairmont’s Catherine Boyles in the semifinals. She will meet the winner of the Haley Spurlock (OG)/Joanna Capito (WC) match.

For the most part there were no surprises during day one of the two-day event being played at the Erickson All-Sports Facility. All the top seeds in both girls and boys advanced to today’s 9 a.m. semifinal round. Ravenswood’s Taylor Youell, who reached the state finals in both singles and doubles last spring, will take on Ritchie’s Olivia Haught in one of the two No. 2 singles’ semis with Oak Glen’s Anna Crawford taking on Madonna’s Ali Welch in the other.

It will be another matchup between the two Little Kanawha Conference rivals at No. 3 as Jessie West will face the Red Devils’ Bess McNabb in one semifinal with the other pitting East Fairmont’s Jacqueline Costello against Oak Glen’s Abbi Sayre.

Semifinal action at the No. 4 singles will see Oak Glen’s Madison Juszczak playing Ravenswood’s Kerigan Crow and the Rebels’ Tiffany Gilmore facing East Fairmont’s Brittiany Brumage.

In boys’ action top seed Nick Conforti of Madonna advanced to today’s championship match with an 8-4 win over East Fairmont’s Khris Musgrove and will face Wheeling Central’s Jonathan Haley-an 8-4 winner over Fairmont Senior’s Grant Holbert-for the championship.

The other three singles will feature semifinal matchups.

At No. 2 it will be Madonna’s Matt Conforti taking on Weir’s Chad Hensley and the Maroon Knights’ Brett Szeligo facing off against St. Marys’ Drew Poling while at No. 3 another Blue Devil, Marcus Moore, will take on Madonna’s Alimario with a trip to the finals on the line while Fairmont Senior’s Michael Buonaiuto will take on Central’s Gus Schmidt in the other half of the draw.

Rounding out the semifinals will be St. Marys’ A.J. Harris against Fairmont Senior’s Taylor Campbell and Central’s Daniel Lee against Madonna’s Thomas Gianni at No. 4.