Riggs, Ptacek advance to 6A state singles tennis tourney

GIRLS TENNIS: Monday, Oct. 12, 2020

Junior Sage Riggs and sophomore Brooke Ptacek will compete this weekend at the Class 6A state tennis tournament after qualifying during Saturday’s regional tournament at Wichita North.

Riggs, who was seeded No. 1 in the singles division, placed second after falling in a nearly two-hour match to Hutchinson’s Gracie Foster, a player she has split decisions with this season.

Ptacek, meanwhile, qualified in the third position after winning two matches before falling to the eventual champion in the semifinals. In her third-place match, Ptacek earned an injury default victory when Hutchinson’s Emilee Railsback could not play due to injury.

The Lady Buffaloes two doubles teams were unable to get past the quarterfinal round after winning opening matches and did not qualify for the state tourney.

Riggs, who now owns a 30-4 season record, defeated Jaciana Rivera of Liberal (6-0, 6-3) and then Railsback of Hutchinson (7-6, 12-10 tiebreak) and 6-3. In her championship match, Riggs lost to No. 2-seeded Gracie Foster of Hutchinson (6-4, 6-3). This pitted last year’s singles championship opponents once again while Riggs had defeated the Salthawk player earlier this season at the Hutchinson Invitational.

Ptacek, showing again her season-long improvement, defeated Jada Featherby of Campus (6-2, 6-4) and Jessica Stratton of Wichita South (6-2, 7-5) before running into Foster in the semis where she was blanked 6-0, 6-0. Railsback then defaulted the third-place match. Ptacek saw her season record improve to 27-9.

“We are very happy that both Sage and Brooke will be playing at state, but we certainly wish our doubles teams would have had the same opportunity,” head coach Logan Bevis said. “There were some rules changes for the number of qualifiers this year, so you had to make the top 4 rather than top 6 to earn a trip to state.”

The doubles team of Ashleigh Chappel and Sydney Nanninga, seeded No. 8, opened with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Riddhi Bombaywala and Brianna Sanders of Liberal before losing to the No. 1 seed Hutchinson team of Tia Hines and Elizabeth Jackson, 6-4, 6-3.

Rilee McGraw and Alivia Palmer won their opening match by a 6-0, 6-0 count against Autumn Kowalski and Diana Grajeda of Wichita South before dropping a 6-4, 6-2 decision to Darby Benson and Lauren Davis of Hutchinson in the quarterfinals to end their season.

Missing playing the doubles match with McGraw was sophomore Chloe Powell, who had suffered an injury a couple of weeks earlier. McGraw and Chappel are seniors while all the other players will return for the 2021 season.

The Lady Buffs finished with 9 team points to place second behind Hutchinson’s winning total of 16 points. Campus was third with 5, Dodge City with 3, Liberal 2, Wichita South 1 and Wichita North 0.

“All of the players improved throughout the season, so I’m excited about the prospects of our returning players for next year,” Bevis said. “I think the experience for Sage and Brooke this weekend will also be beneficial.”

Riggs is a third-year state qualifier, having earned a trip her freshman season in doubles with Carson Linenberger and then last year in the singles division.

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