Garden City claims WAC championship

Brad Nading
Garden City High School's Brooke Ptacek hits a forehand shot during a singles match Sept. 26 in the GCHS tennis invite.  Ptacek won the No. 2 singles division Monday at the WAC meet in Liberal.

The Garden City High School girls tennis team completed one of its goals for the strange pandemic-affected season Monday by winning the Western Athletic Conference’s league meet in Liberal.

“It felt like we dealt with a bunch of different obstacles, and the girls did a good job of dealing with adversity throughout the day,” said GCHS head coach Logan Bevis.

The Buffaloes’ Sage Riggs went 4-0 on the day, dropping only nine of 41 games she played the round robin tournament, to capture the No. 1 singles title.

She opened with a 8-5 win over Great Bend, then moved on to a 8-1 decision over Liberal. Against Hays, Riggs won 8-2, then defeated Dodge City’s Faith Heath 8-1 in her final match of the day.

Riggs was also chosen as the WAC Player of the Year.

“Sage had a slow start against Great Bend but she rebounded and played really solid tennis throughout the remainder of that match and the day,” Bevis said. “She’s been great for us all year and I’m excited that she got the WAC Player of the Year.”

In No. 2 singles, Brooke Ptacek of GCHS went 4-0 on the day and also claimed the championship in the division. Ptacek lost only six games of her 38 total games.

The Buffalo began by defeating Great Bend, 8-0, then moved on to an 8-4 victory over Liberal. Ptacek then blanked Hays, 8-0 , and finished the day with a 8-2 win over Dodge City’s Sammy Nguyen.

“Brooke was again solid all day and was in control in all her matches on her way to sweeping 2 singles,” Bevis said. “Her growth throughout the season has been great and I’m really looking forward to what she’ll do at regionals.”

In No. 1 doubles, Garden City’s team of Ashleigh Chappel and Sydney Nanninga went 3-1 on the day for a second-place finish.

The pair dropped their first match of the day to Great Bend, 3-8, but bounced back to win the rest of their matches on the day.

The Buffalo duo defeated Liberal 8-5; then Hays 8-0; then finished the day with a win over Dodge City’s Jewel Escobar and Mariana Ortiz, 8-5.

“Sydney and Ashleigh rebounded from a tough early round loss to Great Bend and played one of their better matches of the year to beat Dodge’s No. 1s in their last match,” Bevis said. “It hasn’t always been easy, but they’ve been committed to playing tactically sound doubles and it showed in their last match.”

Payton Tull and Rilee McGraw teamed up as Garden City’s No. 2 doubles team, finishing 2-2 on the day and claiming second place through a tiebreaker.

The pair opened with an 8-5 win over Great Bend but fell to Liberal 8-6. The Buffaloes then defeated Hays 8-6 before falling to Dodge City’s Becca Unruh and America Gamez, 3-8.

“Chloe (Powell) was injured at the McPherson meet this weekend, so we had Payton step in and play with Rilee,” Bevis said. “It wasn’t the easiest of circumstances for either of them, but they played hard and got the team a big win early against Great Bend, and finished second in their division after winning a three-way tie.”

Bevis, a first-year head coach for GCHS tennis, was selected as the WAC Coach of the Year at the meet.

“The team is excited to compete at the regionals at Wichita (North) on Saturday,” Bevis said. “There should be some really competitive tennis.”

Garden City High School's Sage Riggs hits a backhand shot during a singles match Sept. 26 at GCHS' tennis invite.  Riggs won the No. 1 singles division at the WAC tournament on Monday and was selected as the WAC Player of the Year.