Panther tennis hosts district tournament


By Lance Catchings

The Liberty Hill tennis team hosted the District 27-AAAA tournament Monday and Tuesday with Region IV tennis tournament berths on the line for the top two varsity finishers at stake. The regional tournament will be in Corpus Christi at the H-E-B Tennis Center April 18-19.

The Panthers dominated the district, grabbing 10 of the 16 regional spots available. Lampasas had four players qualify and Taylor had two players qualify. The Lady Panthers brought home the district championship trophy as a team while the boys’ team finished in third place.

Leading the way for the Panthers in girls’ doubles were sophomore Mackenzie Coleman and freshmen Sophie Sherman. They defeated teammates Lauren Crow and McKenzie Wukasch in the finals. Both teams qualified and will be making their first trips to the regional tournament.

In mixed doubles, seniors Kennedy Coleman and Gunnar Ortega won the district championship over teammates Zach Kizer and Ava Tolley.

In boys’ doubles, senior Henry Madison and junior Tyler Franklin were upset by Lampasas, but fought back to defeat Taylor to earn second place and a trip to the regional tournament as runner-ups.

In girls’ singles, junior Angie Melendy finished in third place and sophomore Cassidy Sudekum finished in fourth. Both will attend the regional tournament as alternates.

Head Coach Philip Dodd was proud of the way his Panthers played and composed themselves while hosting the tournament.

“The top four finishers receive all-district honors and a trip to Corpus Christi to represent District 27,” Dodd said. “The top two will play, unless someone gets injured or fails, which I have seen happen. We will take our alternates and some substitutes with us down to Corpus Christi. From what parents and Coach Walker have said, this is the most players we have sent to the regional tournament.”

Last season, Liberty Hill only qualified four players for the regional tournament.

“After finishing 11th in the state in the fall and winning our first team district championship, we believe Panther tennis has become one of the teams to beat in the area, if not the state,” Dodd said.

The junior varsity tennis team made a clean sweep of the district tournament, winning all five events.

“Our junior varsity can play with some of the area varsity teams,” Dodd said. “That speaks well of future varsity teams here at Liberty Hill. Most of our junior varsity players are freshmen with several junior high players with experience coming up.”

Those who have qualified for regionals will play practice matches over the next couple of weeks to stay in competition form until it is time to travel to Corpus Christi.