Lawrence High sophomore Laura Gravino rebounded from a semifinal loss and took third place in singles at the Class 6A state girls tennis tournament at BK Racquet Club on Saturday.
Blue Valley North freshman Holly Asel outlasted Gravino, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, in the semis. Gravino came back and dropped Manhattan's Cheen Alkhatib, 9-6, to place third and help the Lions finish in a four-way tie for third in the team standings.
``She said thought about tanking it (after losing in the semis) but couldn't stand the thought,'' LHS coach Dick Wedel said. ``She was disappointed with the semifinal loss, but fought it out in the third-place match. Asel made very few errors in the third set. Laura played well, but Asel lifted her game to a higher level.''
Against Alkatib, Gravino led 8-4 before winning.
``She hits the ball really hard,'' Wedel said of Alkathib. ``If you give her a ball in her strike zone, she'll blow it away. Laura had to move the ball around.''
Gravino went 3-1 at state and finished with a 22-4 overall record.
In doubles, Lawrence's Nicole Gravino and Brooke Seymour finished 10th. They defeated cousins Catherine Harrison and Melissa Harrison of Shawnee Mission East, 9-4, before falling to Topeka's Ashley Bonebrake and Julia Danielson, 9-6.
Nicole Gravino and Seymour went 2-2 at state and finished with a 17-5 record.
``The other team played well,'' Wedel said of Topeka's tandem, which also beat Gravino and Seymour in the regional final on Monday. ``We didn't get to the net enough. At times Nicole and Brooke played very well and hit some pretty good shots.''
Also in singles on Saturday, Free State junior Kim Heck lost, 9-5, to Shawnee Mission East.
``I'm not disappointed at all,'' Firebird coach Jon Renberger said. ``I could not have been prouder of the way she played and the amount of heart and desire she put into her performance. I think of this as a coming out season for her.
``She gained experience this year that hopefully will have a positive impact on not only her future tennis life, but hopefully it was a positive experience in her life in general considering everything she's had to overcome and deal with this season. I couldn't have been more pleased.''