Garden City girls’ tennis takes second at Great Bend

GCHS Athletics
Garden City High School's Sydney Nanninga hits a forehand shot crosscourt during a doubles match in the 2020 GCHS girls tennis invitational at the GCHS tennis complex. Nanninga, and teammate Sage Riggs, won the No. 1 double competition Saturday at Great Bend.

Using its depth in all four divisions, the Garden City High School girls’ tennis team came home with a second-place team finish and championships in two of the four competitions, and a runner-up in another, at Saturday’s Great Bend Invitational.

The Buffs finished with 53 points to place behind Sterling’s 62 points. Dodge City was a distant third with 39 points in the eight team field. The teams were divided into two pools of four schools each, playing a round-robin and then being seeded into the Cross-Play bracket to determine final placings.

It was the first action for GCHS Head Coach Logan Bevis’ team in nearly two weeks after an early-season tournament at Wichita Collegiate in August.

Placing first was the No. 1 doubles team of Sage Riggs and Sidney Nanninga while No. 2 singles player Alivia Palmer also grabbed a gold medal by winning all four of her matches. The Buffs’ No. 2 doubles team of Chloe Powell and Payton Tull took second, finishing 3-1, while No. 1 singles player Brooke Ptacek had a rough day, going 1-2 in pool play and then defaulting her cross-play match due to an injury.

“She suffered the injury in the last match of pool play and she finished that match out,” Bevis said of Ptacek. “But we erred on the side of caution and held her out of the cross play match.”

Riggs and Nanninga were impressive in capturing the top spot in No. 1 doubles. Going 4-0, the duo only lost six games all day, taking 8-3 wins over Hoisington, 8-0 over Liberal and 8-0 over Trego Community (WaKeeney) before knocking off Sterling’s No. 1 team of Karissa Wilson and Kate Rowland, 8-3, in the championship match.

“I thought they showed some great focus today through the hot (temps near 100) and windy conditions,” Bevis said of the pair. “They defeated a solid Sterling team in the finals.”

Bevis had high praise for Palmer, who dropped only four games in her four matches. She throttled opponents from Hoisington (8-1), Liberal (8-1), Trego Community (8-0) and in the finals match beat Cylie LaTourell of Sterling, 8-2.

“She’s been working hard on adding more variety to her game, and it paid off in today’s challenging conditions,” Bevis said. “She was able to effectively use off-pace shots to wrong-foot her opponents and use the wind to her advantage.”

Powell and Tull also had a strong performance during the competition, taking pool play victories from Hoisington (8-3), Liberal (8-1) and Trego Community (8-0). That put them in the finals against Sterling’s Kelsey Webb and Sunny Carter where they battled in a dramatic 6-8 loss to the Black Bear duo.

“Even though they came up just short in the final, I was really happy with the development they showed today,” Bevis said. “They are making some impressive strides towards playing more technically sound doubles, and they started to see their efforts pay off today.”

Ptacek, slotted into the top singles position, won her opening match against Hoisington, 8-2, but then dropped matches to Liberal (4-8) and Trego Community (5-8) where she suffered an injury.

“She got off to a rocky start against Liberal’s Klassen, but she played a lot better in her third match against the eventual champion from Trego (Caroline Brungardt),” Bevis said.

The Buffaloes will return to the courts on Tuesday, when they travel to the Dodge City Invitational.