Clay tennis fifth at TRAC

J. Patrick Eaken

It might be noted that in a non-league dual match this season, Clay defeated Oak Harbor 5-0. In first doubles, Clay’s Rebekah Kolinski and Grace Fortier defeated Emma Hand and Jessa Bolander 7-5, 7-6 in a close match.
However, for Clay, coming up against the some of the state’s best in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference makes winning championships, even placing, is a challenge. It did present learning experiences for his young team, says coach Walt Ralph.
All three Clay singles players and both doubles teams finished fifth during the TRAC meet.
“Not bad for a ‘reloading’ season,’” Ralph said. “We finished fifth in our league with two freshmen and a sophomore in the lineup.
“Not much of a chance for a state qualifier this year, but our first and second singles are teaming up as a doubles team. We like our chances to advance into districts,” Ralph continued.
As a result, the Eagles finished fifth in team standings with 20 points, trailing champion Notre Dame (38), St. Ursula (33), Findlay (29) and Central Catholic (28). Fremont Ross had 17 points to finish sixth, followed by Whitmer (9) and Lima Senior (6). Clay finished 3-4 in league dual meets. Notre Dame, which was a 7-0 in conference duals, won their seventh league title in 11 seasons.
In first singles, Clay’s Kinsley Jahns defeated Ross’ Ava Smith 6-1, 6-2 to earn fifth place. She also defeated Whitmer’s Cheyenne Snyder 6-1, 6-1, but lost in the opening round to Findlay’s Sydney Swisher 6-1, 6-1, who eventually finished fourth. The champion was Ellie Assenmacher (Notre Dame).
In second singles, Clay’s Allie LaPlante lost her opening round match to Findlay’s Mollie Quaid, 6-1, 6-1. In the consolation, LaPlante defeated Lima Senior’s Navaeh Sheeter 6-0, 6-1 and Ross’ Morgan Shetzer 6-1, 6-3. Central’s Bella Spinazze was champion.
Jahns and LaPlante will team up as a double team for the sectional tournament, where they won a Division I championship last year to advance to the district tournament.
In third singles at the TRAC meet, Clay’s Ella Orr lost the opener to St. Ursula’s Sophie Miller, 6-1, 6-1, but went on to defeat Whitmer’s Dana Alsharif 6-1, 6-0 and Ross’ Becca Jensen, 6-0, 7-6 (7-1). Notre Dame’s Charllize Delos Santos won the championship.
The Clay first doubles team, Kolinski and Fortier, defeated a team from Ross 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to earn fifth In the opener, the Eagles duo fell to a team from Central 6-4, 6-0, but rebounded to defeat Lima Senior 6-0, 6-1.
The Eagles’ second doubles team, Remi Galyas and Vanessa Horvath, lost their opening match to Ross 7-6 (8-6), 6-1, but defeated Lima Senior 6-1, 6-1 and Central 7-6 (8-6), 1-6, 7-5 in a hard-fought match that came down to the wire.
Ralph is in his 49th season at the helm, covering boys and girls tennis over 25 years. He has been a head prep tennis coach nowhere else.


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