Seniors will compete in Class 1 state doubles tournament at Springfield, beginning Friday (Oct. 25) morning. For Hunter Keithley, it's her third-straight appearance in the state doubles event
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The final act of the highly-successful 2019 Chillicothe High School girls’ tennis season will begin Friday (Oct. 25). Given expected climatic conditions at the location where the curtain will ring down, the last act could be quite short, but, if it’s going well, could extend on into a second day.
The Class 1 MSHSAA Championships in girls’ tennis will be played at their traditional home – the Cooper Tennis Complex at Springfield – Friday and Saturday.
Among the entries will be CHS’ Midland Empire Conference and district champions combination of seniors Hunter Keithley, a state-tournament veteran, and Hannah Zimmerman, a state rookie.
In good weather, the state tournament utilizes the many courts at the central Springfield facility to conduct both championship- and consolation-bracket competition, which allows for entrants who lose their first match to have a chance to play at least twice.
However, when there is rain – as the forecast has indicated is a significant possibility there today – and play is restricted to the complex’s indoors courts, the volume of total matches must be reduced to assure getting all of the championship-bracket singles and doubles matches played on the fewer available courts. In such a case, depending on the duration of the rain, opening-round consolation-division matches between first-round losers sometimes get cancelled, ending the tourney after a single match for those players.
Given that Keithley – paired then with now-graduated Hannah Cypert – sustained first-round losses at state in her 2017 and 2018 trips, that’s a scenario that could come into play in limiting this year’s Keithley/Zimmerman tandem stay.
The CHS seniors are slated to open this year’s tourney with a match against Claire Southard and Megan Gullette of Cape Girardeau: Notre Dame, the champions from District 2. Should the Lady Hornets tandem come up short in that match, which appears likely to be among the first matches played – action is set for a 9 a.m. start Friday, if MSHSAA has to curtail the schedule and eliminate consolation play, it could be headed home – or at least finished for the season – by lunchtime.
Looking at things more positively, should Chillicothe’s entry enjoy opening-round success in doubles it hasn’t had for 11 years (since Lily Pyrtle and Jaimie Baker finished fourth), Zimmerman/Keithley would advance to face either a St. Louis: John Burroughs duo or a Mount Vernon pair in the championship quarterfinals later Friday. Keithley likely would relish an opportunity to move on and face the Mount Vernon entry – Kassidy Anderson and Brandee Loftus, since it was Anderson and another partner who bested her and Cypert 6-2, 6-1 in the first round last year.
Keithley/Cypert bounced back to win their consolation opener a year ago, but were eliminated in the second round of consolation action Friday evening. Two years ago, they dropped both of their first two matches.
The Keithley/Zimmerman combination has had an exceptionally-successful season to date, winning 21 of 25 sets or matches thus far.