(Saturday 4:30 p.m. update) Whiteside loses 2-6, 1-6 in championship match; Stephens falls 2-6, 3-6 to another St. Louis girl for third
(4:30 p.m. update) Chillicothe High School's Sydnie Whiteside captured second place in the Class 1 high school girls' tennis state tournament, falling to Brittany Green of St. Louis: Villa Duchesne 2-6, 1-6 early Saturday afternoon at Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield.
Her runnerup finish is the second-best ever for a CHS girls' singles player. Jane Dickinson won 1994 state title.
Lady Hornets teammate Ali Stephens, a junior like Whiteside, dropped the third-place match to Angeline Veronikis 2-6, 3-6, giving the Chillicothean fourth place this year.
Whiteside captured fifth place and Stephens sixth at state a year ago.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. «» Junior Sydnie Whiteside of Chillicothe High School will play for the championship of the Class 1 high school girls' tennis tournament later today (Saturday).
Whiteside earned that opportunity this morning by cruising by Angeline Veronikis of St. Louis' Mary Institute/Country Day School (MICDS) in straight sets of 6-4, 6-1.
The bid of CHS classmate Ali Stephens to also play for the state title was thwarted by Brittany Green of St. Louis' Villa Duchesne this morning, Green dominating CHS' No. 2 player 6-0, 6-1.
While Whiteside (31-2) is to play Green for the state tournament title at 1 p.m. or some time after that at the Cooper Tennis Complex, Stephens and Veronikis were to clash for third place, starting probably some time in the noon hour. Given Stephens' having won one of three matches against Whiteside during the season, she would seem to have a solid chance to defeat Veronikis and secure third place after finishing sixth at state a year ago.
Whiteside, who has lost only to Stephens and to 2-time state champion Alena Frye (2011 doubles, 2012 singles) of Kansas City: Barstow this year (Frye will be in today's doubles finals), will seek to become Chillicothe's second girls' state champion in singles tennis. Jane Dickinson, a 3-times state medalist and 4-times state qualifiers in singles, copped the 1994 state title as a senior.
CHS also had doubles state champions in 1996 when Katie Stephens and Emily Robinson paired to win it all as, like Whiteside and Stephens, juniors.
Thus far in the 2013 state tournament, Whiteside has coasted to a 6-0, 6-1 victory in the opening round and then dominated second and final sets of her quarterfinals and semifinals matches after battling her way to close first-set triumphs.
In Friday's quarterfinals against familiar rival Taylor Crawford of Marshall, with whom she had engaged in a 2:20 marathon before winning 10-8 in an early September team dual match, the Lady Hornet went at it hammer and tong throughout the opening set before prevailing 7-5. She then took command of the action and pulled away to a 6-2 victory in the second set to advance.
Saturday morning against the player from the St. Louis private school which perennially is among the state team title contenders as well as one or more players deep into the individual singles or doubles tournament, Whiteside again found herself physically and mentally tested through the first set before seizing firm control of the match and closing it out in straight sets.
With a chance to close out the first set at 5-4, the phenomenal Chillicothean did just that, winning the 10th game for a 6-4 triumph. Once she had that advantage, she made Veronikis wilt with a fast start to the second set and eventually rang it up at 6-1, saving herself valuable energy she'll surely need against Green, who finished off Stephens a bit quicker, and also further boosting her confidence level by beating a top player from a major-metropolitan private-school program, the ones that routinely dominate the state team and non-team competitions.
Should Whiteside claim the state tournament singles championship, it will come with a caveat – an asterisk, if you will, in terms of who is the best Class 1 individual player in the state this year.
Some top Class 1 players, most notably Barstow's Frye, are involved in the doubles division, rather than singles. Given her previous and pending state accomplishments and her 6-0, 6-1 victory over Whiteside in last weekend's team sectional match in Chillicothe, the Chillicothe star's still-highly-noteworthy potential claim would be being the best player in this year's state singles tournament.