courtesy pic – carmen hatfield
Provided by Head WHS Tennis Coach Brian Aufdengarten…
State Tennis was a little different this year with only the top 4 from each regional qualifying.
Doubles started on Friday morning, followed by singles in the afternoon around 2:00. Wellington’s doubles team entered the state tournament after placing 4th at regionals, having to play a team that finished 1st in their regional. Most 4th place teams wouldn’t be able to beat a #1 seed, but Wellington’s two seniors of Rylee Rusk and Calli Hatfield used much of their state experience to prove the odds wrong.
We were to play Independence Gregory/Dodson, but due to a quarantine that we learned about Thursday night, Independence substituted Marquez in for Dodson who was on quarantine herself during regionals. Typically a better player doesn’t get substituted in but Marquez is a 4 year state participant.
The first set of the match Wellington held a 6-5 lead and had 3 set points but couldn’t finish them so it went to a tiebreak and Indy won 7-2. In the second set Wellington jumped ahead 3-1, but Indy stormed back and it went to another tiebreak, this time Wellington winning 7-4. Then came the third set super tiebreak that had Wellington trailing 7-9, before tying it at 9-9. The final score was 12-10 with Wellington coming out on top. That was a really good team that we beat. Half that team was the overall #1 seed at state last year.
After the 3 hour first match Wellington was playing a familiar league opponent in Buhler who Rusk and Hatfield beat at league. Wellington had a lead in the first set but only to see it go away and go to a first set tiebreak, but coming up short 7-2. After that the Wellington pair looked gassed after going to 4 straight tiebreaks, and lost the second set 6-1. We were on the court for 5 hours in 2 matches, I was a little worried because we had to play one more to qualify for day 2.
The Wellington pair played Wichita Trinity who finished 3rd in the Pratt regional. Wellington fell behind 1-3, then rallied off 7 straight games to take a 8-3 lead. Trinity won another game but Wellington finished off the match 9-4, to guarantee Saturday play.
On Saturday the pair opened up with an emotional Hesston team and it was back and forth for the match until around 6-6, then Wellington won 9-6 to put them back against the very good Independence team for 5th/6th place.
Wellington trailed for much of the match against Indy but would get close and never gave up, but Indy came out on top this time 9-6. We are very even with that team, on the season we played 4 times and the series was 2-2. Rusk and Hatfield finished the year together 23-9. Hatfield reached 26 wins this year, and Rusk 25 wins. Rylee Rusk set the all time win mark with 118 wins beating Kylie Aufdengarten who had 117. Hatfield was a three time state qualifier and two time state medalist finishing 6th this year, and 9th in 2018, and she finished with 85 career wins. Rusk finished in 5th in 2017, 2nd in 2018, 1st in 2019, and 6th this year. These two girls will be missed from our program and put their names in some of the top players in Wellington’s history. Listed below are 3 and 4 year state qualfiers for Wellington
4 TIME STATE QUALIFIERS
3 TIME STATE QUALIFIERS