Lady Spartans grow, learn on the courts

The Lady Spartan tennis squad showed a lot of improvement under the guidance of second-year coach Zach Danner. Even though the Lady Spartans posted just a pair of victories, they were competitive throughout the season – a season that officially came to an end Saturday at the Class 1, District 7 tournament in Marshall.
Richmond finished 10th in the 12-team field, but Danner was pleased with how his team continued to improve from day one.
“When I took over the program a season ago I knew we had a lot of work to do and the girls this season have shown me they are committed to the program and willing to do what it takes to help us continue to grow into a successful tennis team,” he said. “I am proud of each of the girls for their never-give-up attitude and all the time they have put into becoming quality tennis players.”
Danner adds he is already looking forward to next fall and show that Richmond can battle for the top of the MRVC again.
Chillicothe won the district team title, with the host Owls finishing as the runner-up. Grain Valley placed third, and Higginsville was fourth to round out the regional qualifying teams. Danner thought his team played well against the larger schools.
“We had an excellent start to the day winning two of our first round matches,” he said. “We have come a long way since the beginning of the season and it was nice to see our team able to take the court and come away with wins over larger schools like Warrensburg.”
The doubles team of Brittany Munson and Hannah Jones split their four matches. They opened the tournament with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Watchmer and Fox of Warrensburg, but dropped their second-round match to Roelofsz and Roelofsz of Excelsior Springs 3-6, 0-6. The Lady Spartan duo rebounded with a win over Calvert and Miller of Carrollton, before ending the day with a 4-8 loss to Kaldenburg and McClain of Grain Valley.
Kaylie Root registered the only other victory for the Lady Spartans for the day. Root recorded a 6-3, 7-5, straight-set victory in her singles opener over Gabby Madigan of Carrollton. She then dropped her final two matches to Erica Kjos of Knob Noster 4-6, 2-6, and then to Emily Rolan, 1-8.
“Munson and Jones once again showed that they could play quality tennis against very tough competition,” Danner commented. “They gained valuable experience learning to play together in a tournament of this caliber. Kaylie showed that she could come out ready to play and didn’t let the importance of the tournament get to her picking up a singles win in the first round helping the team earn our 10th-place finish.”
The doubles team of Joanne Wienen and Samantha Palmer dropped both of their matches to Ortiz/Miner of Trenton 2-6, 2-6, and to Byers/Fisk of Knob Noster 3-8. Ali Rickart was 0-2 in singles competition as she dropped her opening match to Ashley Kjos of Knob Noster by identical 1-6 scores, and then to Carah Hart of Carrollton, 2-8.

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