Archive for Sunday, October 20, 2002

Free State snares pair of state tennis titles

October 20, 2002


— In the final tally, the state of Kansas had no chance against Free State's finest in the Class 6A state tennis tournament.

Free State's Emily Wang captured yet another singles title, her second in two years on Saturday.

It came just moments after the lethal doubles team of Emily Loewen and Lacey Luina captured a state title of its own on a neighboring court.

"I was pretty focused on my match," Wang said, "until I heard everybody cheering and yelling, and I thought, 'Oh, great, they won!'"

They not only won, but rolled through the field. Loewen and Luina flew by Blue Valley North's Amanda Carhart and Ally Hammacher in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1, in the championship match. Loewen-Luina finished 31-2 on the year.

"They just never give up," Firebirds coach Jon Renberger said, "regardless of the moment and regardless of the conditions. For them to win that championship match so decisively, that was just incredible."

With chilly autumn winds whipping Saturday's semifinal and championship matches, Luina and Loewen set out to prove their No. 1 seed was justified, and they did precisely that.

"I think that was the best we've ever played," Luina said. "Even with the wind and everything, we played really well together."

Wang was equally impressive, rolling through her championship rematch in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0, over Blue Valley Northwest's Carlie Rodney.

The two met in last year's finals with similar results, though it looked a little easier for the Free State senior this go-around.

"I thought I played really well," said Wang, who finished 32-2. "I adjusted to the wind, and, in general, I moved around the court really well."

Unfortunately for Free State, the singles and doubles titles weren't enough to give the team title to FSHS. The Firebirds finished in a first-place tie with Blue Valley North, but BVN won the tiebreaker because it had more entries  three  in the tournament than Free State (two).

"It's kind of unfortunate for the school, because we don't have a team title yet," Renberger said. "We're going to take home the second-place trophy, but we know we got the best around, and that's all that counts."

Wang says the team title was a big deal.

"It's not disappointing," she said. "We took first in both, and I'm just so happy."


Olsons go 1-2: Lawrence High's Sara and Abby Olson won their opening match on Friday over Amber and Ashley Gordon of Hutchinson, 7-5, 6-2, to advance to the quarterfinals. There, they went on to lose in straight sets to Topeka Washburn Rural on Friday, before dropping a 9-3 decision to Sarah Holtz and Shruti Challa of Topeka in the consolation bracket on Saturday.

The sisters finished their doubles season with a 12-9 mark.

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