Junior-sophomore tandem swept through Thursday's non-team Class 1 District 16 tournament without loss of a set. Will play for spot in state tourney Monday
CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — Getting off to a blazing start in their championship match by winning the first 10 points, Chillicothe High School’s Hannah Cypert and Hunter Keithley on Thursday added the Class 1 District 16 doubles crown to their recent Midland Empire Conference title.
Rematching with Trenton’s Claire Utley and Lauren Dolan in the district final just less than 24 hours after edging the Lady Bulldogs’ top duo 9-7 in the team district finals on the exact same court in Chillicothe’s Daryl Danner Memorial Park, the CHS junior/sophomore combination used its quick getaway – a mix of its own winners and missed shots by its foe – to establish an early 4-0 lead which turned into a 6-1 first-set victory.
While Utley/Dolan used the reset to upgrade their game in the second set, Keithley/Cypert refused to be denied. While the set was up for grabs right up to the final game, the Chillicotheans claimed it 6-4 to earn the right to play the second-place finishers from District 15’s tournament in Monday afternoon’s state-tournament-qualifying sectional match at the Noyes Tennis Center in St. Joseph.
The CHS tandem will square off with Megan McDonald and Olivia DiMaggio of Kansas City: St. Pius X in a best-of-3-sets match to try to earn a spot in the field of 16 for the state tournament at Springfield late next week.
Despite being a district champion facing a runnerup, Cypert’s and Keithley’s task Monday will be a tough one. St. Pius X is one of many private schools in the Kansas City and St. Louis metropolitan areas who tend to dominate tennis since their non-public status allows them to both attract talented players from a wider geographic and more-populous region and hire more-accomplished, non-teacher coaches to work with them – in some cases year-round.
While DiMaggio/McDonald took second in their district, it was to teammates and by a competitive 3-6, 3-6 score. St. Pius X also has a fifth player – presumably its fifth-best – qualified for sectional in singles.
While CHS’ Cypert and Keithley extended their 2017 seasons to today, the remainder of the squad saw its campaign conclude Thursday, but not without a couple of entries finishing on high notes.
In singles, sophomore Macy Cavanah followed up on her unexpected fourth-place finish in the recent conference singles tournament by bettering that by one spot. She earned third place in district singles, completing that journey with a 6-1, 6-3 triumph over Maryville’s Emma Webb-Kirkpatrick in the finals. Webb-Kirkpatrick had surprised Chillicothe’s second-seeded Gracy Reeter 6-1, 7-6 (4) in the quarterfinals before losing in the semis.
In doubles, not only did the Lady Hornets’ top tandem take the title, but their No. 3 duo during the regular season – senior Lauren Gregory and sophomore Hannah Zimmerman – took fourth place among the 12 entries.
They gave a great performance in the semifinals, coming close to stunning Trenton’s eventual runnersup before falling in straight sets – 6-7 (4), 5-7. In the third-place set, they lost to Trenton’s #2 duo – Sam Mihalovich and Maddie Searcy – 5-7.
Keithley and Cypert entered Thursday’s play as the No. 1 seed and lived up to it decisively, sweeping through three matches without loss of a set.
Following a first-round bye, they ousted a Maryville entry 6-1, 6-2 to qualify for the semifinal round.
There, the Chillicothe combo raised their game further, sailing past Searcy/Mihalovich 6-1, 6-0 to reach the championship match and clinch a berth in today’s sectional play.
Unofficially, the trio of wins Thursday boosted the Cypert/Keithley team’s season record to a sparkling 22-2.
Cavanah’s strong performance in winning two of three matches – she had a first-round bye as the No. 4 seed – salved the sting of her previous day’s singles-match result a bit.
On Wednesday, the Lady Hornets’ ultimate team fate landed on her shoulders when, in the team district-tournament finals, her No. 4 singles match was the last to finish and did so with the team match deadlocked at 4-4. With the chance to qualify for the first round of state team play in the balance, Trenton’s Searcy slipped past Cavanah in a close, hard-fought match to give the Lady Bulldogs the title.
Cavanah unofficially finished the season with CHS’ most singles sets/matches won – 15.