SPRINGFIELD ♥ Chillicothe High School sophomore tennis standouts Sydnie Whiteside and Ali Stephens finished fifth and sixth place, respectively, in the Class 1 high school girls' state tennis tournament singles division on Saturday. It is the first time in program history Chillicothe has had multiple entries win state medals.
The teammates and classmates square off against each other to decide which would bring home which medal from the 16-players state competition at the Cooper Tennis Complex. As was the case in their two prior meetings this season, it was Whiteside prevailing head-to-head, turning back Stephens 6-1, 6-2, to finish this season with a 36-1 singles record, believed to be the best-ever single-year mark in Lady Hornets annals.
Whiteside, the Midland Empire Conference and district champion, advanced to the fifth-place match (consolation finals) by defeating Kristyn Young of Logan-Rogersville in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0, earlier Saturday. Stephens, district runnerup to Whiteside, knocked off Kirksville's Kinsey Helton 6-1, 6-1, in her consolation semifinal.
Both were in the consolation bracket after following opening-round triumphs with quarterfinal-round losses on the championship side Friday.
Whiteside's first consolation match saw her handle Jessica Rakers of St. Louis: Lutheran South, who was in the state tournament for a second-straight year, by a solid 6-0, 6-3 margin.
Stephens won her first consolation-side match, topping Laura Engel of St. Louis: Bishop DuBourg 6-0, 6-1, in the second round.
The Chillicothre pair opened state tournament singles play on the right foot Friday morning with opening-round victories.
Whiteside, 33-0 following her first-round victory, making her the only undefeated player remaining, lost 1-6, 3-6 to Meg Andersen of St. Louis: Principia, in the quarterfinals. Stephens fell to Clayton's Carly Cassity 1-6, 1-6 in the afternoon quarterfinals.
Whiteside defeated Kinsey Helton of Kirksville for a second time this year, 6-4, 6-3 in round one while Stephens bested Sarah Cook of Clinton 6-1, 6-4.
"Sydnie had beaten Helton before, but had a tougher time during the rematch," reported CHS head coach Aaron Douglas.
"Ali had a super phenomenal win, although the score doesn't reflect it," Douglas said of Stephens' match. "The girl she beat was an ultra-solid player. Ali overcame her with pure heart and always forced herself to run down the extra ball."
A full summary of the CHS players' state-tournament performances will appear in print in the Monday, Oct. 22, Constitution-Tribune.
Also in the Class 1 high school girls' state tournament Friday, Trenton's twin-sisters combo of Jaci and Jessica Tracy was ousted after three matches.
They won in the opening round, then lost in straight sets to a combo from always-challenging Kansas City: Barstow and, in consolation action, in three sets to a Marshall entry.
The Tracys won the District 7 tournament title in Chillicothe two weeks back.