Lady Blazer tennis third at regionals


GREEN RIVER – The Torrington High School girls’ tennis team finished third at the South Regional Tournament in a tight battle for the runner-up position over the weekend.

The Lady Blazers ended the two-day event with 44 points. Cheyenne Central won the tournament with 69 points, while Green River was second with 47.

“It was a fun weekend watching the kids compete,” THS coach Curtis Birkley said. “The cameraderie between the kids is fun to watch.”

The girls were led by No. 1 singles player Sera Glass and No. 1 doubles team of Tyne Stokes and Jacee Shields who finished second in their respective divisions.

Glass rolled to straight set wins over Nedra McIIwaine (Cheyenne East) and Gabrielle Heiser (Green River) to reach the championship.

In the championship match, Cheyenne Central’s Emily Needham knocked off Glass, 6-0, 6-0.

In the No. 1 doubles bracket, Stokes and Shields opened the tournament with a straight set win over Cheyenne East. In their semifinal match, the THS duo split their first two sets with Green River, winning the first 7-5 but falling in the second 7-5. In deciding set, Stokes and Shields won 6-2 to advance to the championship.

In the final match of the weekend, the Lady Blazer pair fell to Cheyenne Central, 6-0, 6-2.

Jenessa Derby, No. 2 singles, and Bethany Wunibald and Trisha Cates also placed for Torrington.

Derby finished third, rebounding to defeat Cheyenne East’s Sydney O’Brien in the consolation championship, 6-4, 6-1, after suffering her only loss of the weekend in the semifinal round.

In the No. 2 doubles bracket, Wunibald and Cates went 2-2, falling in the third-place match to Laramie, 6-2, 7-5.

The No. 3 doubles team of Sydney Harris and Theona Haines also picked up a win, defeating Rawlins in the first round of the consolation bracket.

“Their confidence is high,” Birkley said of the girls heading into state. “They are excited. They know the North is going to be tough.”

In the boys’ division, no Blazers placed in the top four, but Aidyn Saucedo, No. 1 singles, defeated Rock Springs’ Nico Woolsey 6-0, 6-1 to advance to the consolation semifinal.

Isaac Bartlett, No. 2 singles, defeated Rock Springs’ Khristian Sanarez 6-2, 6-0 for his lone win of the weekend.

In doubles action, the No. 1 team of Cody Clayton and Gabe Russell defeated Cheyenne East in the opening round to reach the semifinal before dropping their next two matches to be eliminated.

The No. 2 team of Ben Firminhac and Adam Bartlett defeated Rock Springs 6-4, 6-3 in their lone win of the season.

As a team, the Blazers finished sixth at regionals with 13 points. Green River won the team title with 60, while Cheyenne South was second with 48. Cheyenne Central was third with 40.

The teams will only have two practices this week before departing for the state tournament in Gillette.

“They are ready,” Birkley said. “Even on the five-and-a-half-hour drive home, they were ready to get back on the court and get better.”

The Wyoming State Championships run from Sept. 24-26 at several different locations throughout the community, including the Campbell County School District Field House, the Campbell County High School, Thunder Basin High School and the Bicentennial Park. Action is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. each day.

Birkley named girlsí South Conference Coach of the Year

In addition to the success by the players on the court, Birkley was named South Conference Coach of the Year by the other coaches in the region.

“It is an honor to be selected but truly it’s about how hard our players and coaching staff has worked to get where we are,” Birkley said. “I’m super proud of our team.”

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