By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — After a year with no district qualifiers, the Troy tennis team is returning.
And Piqua very nearly ended an even longer drought.
Troy’s Kit Wolke and Mackenzie Nosker, the No. 2 seed in the doubles bracket, swept their way to the semifinal round and qualified for next week’s district tournament at the Division I sectional tournament Tuesday at Troy High School, while the Indians had a pair of singles players reach the quarterfinal round at Troy Community Park and just missed getting their first district qualifier in recent memory.
For both Wolke and Nosker, each of them Troy seniors, it will be the first trip to the district tournament.
“I’m just super happy for those two to get to go to districts,” Troy coach Mark Goldner said. “With all of the stuff Kit has gone through this year, to see her hitting the ball well again today, it makes me feel good. And Mackenzie has had a real good year playing first and second singles, and I just couldn’t be happier for both of them that they get to go to district in their senior year.”
Last year, Wolke and Cady Rhea, the Trojans first doubles team all season, falling in a three-set quarterfinal match to Northmont’s first and second singles players, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 6-3. This season, Wolke began the season as the Trojans’ first singles player and Nosker was second singles, but an injury forced Wolke to miss two weeks, and she is only now getting back to 100 percent. Nosker filled in at first singles while she was out, and both have had solid seasons — solid enough to earn the No. 2 seed in the sectional doubles bracket.
“Kit and Cady played Northmont and lost in a third set in the qualifier last year,” Goldner said. “They were out here for about two and a half hours, and if they’d have won that one, they were that close to going. I’m just happy that Kit and Mackenzie get to go this year.”
They made the most of that seeding, too. After a first-round bye, Wolke and Nosker swept Wayne’s Katelyn Maiden and Amira Wilcox 6-0, 6-0 to reach the quarterfinals. Against Fairborn’s Winnie Zheng and Myleigh Smith, they only ran into a problem finishing, dropping two games at 5-0 in the second set before closing out a 6-0, 6-2 win to advance to the semifinals and earn a district berth.
Troy’s other doubles team of Rhea and Esha Patel won its first match of the day, 6-2, 6-2 over Springfield’s Morgan Reynolds and Carissa Davis, but they dropped a third-round match against Butler’s No. 3-seeded team of Bella Braitton and Seema Pithadia, splitting the first two sets and falling in a third-set super-tiebreaker 7-5, 3-6, 1-0 (11-9).
For Troy in singles, Maggie Wannemacher — who played second doubles all season — won a second-round match against Springfield’s Audrey Hallmark, 6-1, 7-5, before falling to Butler’s Madilynn Hager 6-3, 6-2. Her partner, Kylie Ayers, lost a first-round match to Tecumseh’s Kayla Wright 7-6 (5), 6-1. And Danielle Robbins lost to Sidney’s Hailey New 6-0, 6-1.
For Piqua, Tuesday marked a bittersweet end to an outstanding season.
The Indians finished the regular season 11-6, at one point sitting at 9-1 on the year. And a pair of unseeded players — Alexa Knorr-Sullivan and Arabella Partee — both reached the quarterfinal round before falling in their respective get-to-district matches. And for Piqua, just reaching those matches was a big step.
“A lot,” Piqua coach Kyla Starrett said when asked what the day’s performance meant to the program. “I cannot … well, no, I can believe it. They’ve just put in so much work, and it’s showing. Most years, we’ve been out of here by noon. Today, we’re here at 3:30 p.m. in the last match of the day.
It’s a young program. (Assistant coach) Bonnie (Davis) and I haven’t been able to build it up until these girls — especially with Alexa. We’ve had her since she was a freshman, and this is her senior year. The hard work and time put into the program has paid off.”
Knorr-Sullivan had the longest day by far, beginning with a third-set super-tiebreaker win over Tecumseh’s Erica Kelly, 4-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-5). With Northmont’s third-seeded player having to drop out due to illness, she faced Sidney’s Allison Fultz in the third round, winning 6-2, 7-5 to advance to the quarterfinal round.
There, she faced Butler’s Hager, dropped the first set 6-0 and falling behind 1-0 in the second before beginning to battle back. Knorr-Sullivan held the lead as late as 4-3 in the second set, but she simply ran out of gas in a 6-0, 6-4 defeat.
Partee also reached the quarterfinal round, sweeping Xenia’s Autumn McCray 6-0, 6-0 and then upsetting the No. 4 seed, Fairborn’s Eva Gibson, 7-5, 6-2 to reach the get-to-district round. There, she lost to Butler’s Priya Petty 6-1, 6-2.
Izzy King won a first-round match by default over Wayne’s Renee McKnight, but she ran into the singles bracket’s No. 1 seed, Sidney’s Kara Mays, in the second round. She battled through a close second set, but in the end Mays held on for a 6-2, 6-4 win.
For Piqua in doubles, Grace Ryan and Rikki Ramirez lost to the No. 1 seed, Tecumseh’s Kayla Bush and Olivia Walrath, 6-0, 6-1, and Skylar Cain and Cassie Arnett lost to Butler’s Liz Huddleson and Kayla Lewis 6-3, 6-1, both in second-round matches.
The sectional semifinal round will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Troy Community Park.
Contact Troy Daily News Sports Editor Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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