Ortega, Coleman take 2nd at Regional Tournament, move on to State
On Monday, April 17, three Panther tennis players traveled to Bryan to play in the Regional Tournament at Bryan High School. Henry Madison competed in Boys’ Singles, while Gunnar Ortega and Kennedy Coleman partnered up for Mixed Doubles.
Madison started things off on a high note for the Panthers on Monday, winning his first two matches in straight sets. He won the first round by scores of 6-0 and 6-3, and won the second by scores of 6-3 and 6-3.
Ortega and Coleman won their first two rounds of Mixed Doubles in straight sets, as well, winning the first by scores of 6-2 and 7-5, and the second by scores of 6-4 and 6-1.
On Tuesday, each of the three Panthers participated in the tournament semifinals after winning their first two matchups.
Madison had the unfortunate task of facing the tournament’s one seed, losing the match in straight sets by scores of 1-6 and 3-6. He then moved on to compete in the third place game, where he fell in straight sets by scores of 1-6 and 2-6.
Ortega and Coleman were up against the one seed in their first match of the day, as well, but were able to come out on top. They won the match in three sets, 6-4, 4-6, and 6-1, to move on to the tournament final.
“We had very good communication,” Ortega said of his first Regional Tournament with Coleman as his partner. “We told each other where to move and how to play.”
Ortega and Coleman lost the final match in straight sets by scores of 4-6 and 3-6, taking second place at the Regional Tournament, overall, and qualifying for the State Tournament in May.
According to Ortega, it’s critical that he and Coleman stay focused on the mental aspect of the game in order to succeed at the State Tournament.
“I think we just need to work on our mental game,” he said. “Keeping ourselves focused in the game and not getting angry.”
Ortega and Coleman have a full month between the Regional and State Tournaments. Seeing as how they’re the only Panthers moving on to State, Ortega says they’ll have an advantage at practice that they haven’t had all season.
“Since nobody else will be practicing, it will only be me and Kennedy, our coach will be able to focus just on us,” Ortega said. “We can get a lot more work done faster in practice.”
This will be both Coleman and Ortega’s first trip to the State Tournament, which should come as no surprise, considering they’re only sophomores. Ortega noted that the fact that they are advancing to State as sophomores makes the accomplishment all the more astonishing.
“I’m a little bit nervous, a little bit excited, but it’s amazing to be going as a sophomore,” he said.
The State Tournament will take place May 18 and 19 at Texas A&M’s George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, located at 750 Penberthy Blvd.