Area athletes set for state tournament

Rey Castillo By Rey Castillo

May 16, 2017 at 9:51 p.m.

Goliad freshman Jake Billo and junior Emily Duprie had to wait a full day before finally getting their chance to advance to the UIL Class 3A Tennis State Tournament.

After playing three matches during the Region IV-3A tournament in April, the duo had to sit out, per UIL rules, to finish their playback match the following day.

But they answered the call and defeated Bishop's Crystal Lopez and Daniel Balboa 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 to advance.

The mixed doubles pair will start the state tournament by facing Isabel Holland and Turner Stark from Big Lake Reagan County at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center and Omar Smith Intramural Tennis Center at Texas A&M in College Station.

"It was quite the experience to fight off three match points and come out like that," said Goliad coach Neal Tolbert. "You gain experience going through that, and they're only gaining momentum going into the tournament."

This will be the fifth year Goliad has qualified a tennis player for state.

"We've had the time to focus on weaknesses and fine-tune our game in preparation for the state meet," Tolbert said. "A wise coach named Edward Ousley, who is the head basketball coach for the St. Joseph Lady Flyers, told me 'Input equals output.' We're going to see results, and how you set the tone determines the outcome of how you play on the court."

Also in Class 3A, Industrial's Reagan Doyle and Kylann Griffith became the first doubles team to qualify for the state tournament since 2008. Doyle and Griffith finished second in girls doubles at regionals and will face Breanna Seal and Anne Weber, from Kirbyville, at noon Thursday.

"We've had a month off between regionals and state and have had time to prepare," said Industrial coach Jenna Treybig. "They have been putting in a lot of hours and learning a lot of things before they see this great competition."

Doyle and Griffith defeated George West and Jourdanton's doubles pair at regionals before falling to Ingram Moore 2-6, 4-6. Treybig feels it will only help their confidence going forward.

"They played in the championship game, and it was a great a learning experience," Treybig said. "The simple fact that we can play with teams like that was a confidence builder for them. I want it to be exciting because they worked so far and this is their reward."

Wharton, Runge athletes ready for challenge

Wharton's Taylor Jetelina and Nick Niemeier will face Kavin Patel and Blake Zellinger, of Longview Spring Hill, in a doubles match on Thursday in Class 4A. Their first match is at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

In boys singles, Wharton's Matthew Stephenson will match up against Noah Wingate, from Robinson, at 8 a.m. Thursday.

In Class 1A, Runge junior Josiah De Los Santos will face Hart's Ricky Gordino in a singles match at 8 a.m. Thursday.



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