By BRETT MARSHALL
Shalee Myers and Haylie Greeson have been classmates and teammates all four years of high school at Greeley County.
They've been teammates not only in basketball, but also in tennis.
One thing they had never been, though, was doubles partners at a tennis meet.
That all changed on Sept. 28 when the two seniors were paired together by coach Jacque Myers, Shalee's mother, as a way of letting the two play together in competition for the first, and what was to be the only, time before they completed their tennis careers.
It was at the Colby Invitational and, according to coach Myers, the pairing was done more for fun than anything else.
What transpired that day, however, changed the remainder of the 2010 season for the two seniors. They won that tournament, defeating 4A Colby, 3A Scott City and 2A WaKeeney. It got Myers, the coach, thinking about how to maximize her groupings for the upcoming Oct. 8-9 regionals to get the highest seeds possible for the rest of her singles and doubles players.
In between Colby and regionals, the Lady Jackrabbits played their league meet at Greensburg and paired the two together and they won four of five matches to finish second to Meade's Landy Cordes and Carlotta Stern, a foreign exchange student from Germany, who are 17-2 and also qualified for state from another regional site.
The final decision to put the two together paid off as Myers, the player, and Greeson swept through the Class 3-2-1A regional at WaKeeney last Friday and Saturday. And now they get the opportunity to play together in one final tournament — the Kansas State 3-2-1A championship on Friday and Saturday at Wichita Collegiate.
"When we found out I think we were kind of surprised," said Myers, the player, when they learned of their pairing as doubles partners for the regional. "But I think we were ready to try it and it has worked out well."
For Myers, the player, it is the first time in her four years of high school tennis that she has played doubles. She qualified for the state tournament each of her first three years in singles.
"It's quite a bit different and I'm not used to having somebody else on the court, but we have a lot of fun," Myers said of Greeson. "We knocked out the No. 1 team (Morgan Hekele and Norel Kirmer of Claflin) and that really was something."
Myers and Greeson both say their partner helps keep them calm and relaxed during a match.
"It's very exciting to play with Shalee," Greeson said. "She's a really good player and she's someone new for me have as a partner. We work well together and I think we just help each other."
For Greeson, it will mark the third consecutive year she has qualified for state in doubles and each time she will have been with a different partner.
"We haven't won a match at state before so I'm excited to have a chance with Shalee," Greeson said. "She's really good on the baseline and she backs me up when the ball comes over my head."
For Myers, playing with her longtime friend and teammate, will be a different experience at the state, where she has played her three previous years in the singles competition.
"Playing doubles, I get to play at the net and I really love playing there," Myers said.
"It's exciting because I like slamming the ball back down and I can be more aggressive. When I play singles I hardly ever go to the net. It's just exciting for both of us."
Greeson has compiled a cumulative record of 27-8 with her four different partners, including an 11-1 mark with Myers.
Myers had gone 19-4 in her singles season before the late season switch.
"I think playing with different partners has made me feel stronger in different parts of my game," Greeson said.
Myers, the coach, said that the two complement each other on the court with different strengths to their respective games.
"Shalee has played mostly singles and she's able to get balls that are down the line because that's what she has done in singles," Myers, the coach, said.
"Haylie is very strong at the net and just has a great sense of where to be on the court. I think they really work well together and that's why I made the decision to pair them for regional."
For Myers, the coach, the decision has paid dividends. For Myers, the player, and Greeson, it appears this was a perfect match.
Area notes: Scott City seniors Alyssa Scheueerman and Shannon Blair placed fourth at the WaKeeney regional in doubles to also advance to the state tournament. They will take a 22-9 record into Friday's competition.