By Anthony Jones
For the fourth consecutive year, Triad’s girls tennis team has won their IHSA Sectional title. This feat is even more impressive considering the Lady Knights had never won a sectional title until four years ago.
The venue for their sectional this year was Centralia High School. The team faced off against eight other squads in the event. These teams were Olney, Flora, Centralia, Highland, Salem, Greenville, Hillsboro, and Vandalia.
At the end of the two days of competition, Triad had totaled 28 points to win. Second place Olney was close behind with a total of 25 points. Other top finishers were Flora with 19 and Highland with 12.
Leading the way for Triad in points was sophomore Jocelynn Carmody. She totaled ten points, which was over a third of the team’s total. This was also the maximum amount of points she could have scored.
In the first round, Carmody was given a bye. The second round saw her matched up with Garmon from Hillsboro. Carmody breezed through that matchup to win 6-0, 6-0. Her last matchup of the first day was against Banning from Salem, which was another 6-0, 6-0 victory.
Day 2 started a little tougher with a matchup with Flora’s Walden. The sophomore star kept rolling however and won 6-2, 6-2 to advance and become a state qualifier. This sent her to the singles finals
The singles championship match was up next and was Carmody’s toughest by far. The first two sets were split 4-6, 6-3 and in the third set she was down 4-5 when her opponent Carder from Flora retired. This meant Carmody won and was crowned the sectional’s singles champion.
Also competing in singles competition was Gracie Markland. The junior year athlete received a bye during the first round. In the next round, she won over Foltz from Salem. She lost in the third round 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 to eventual fourth place finisher Potter of Olney. Markland scored four points for the team, which was more than the difference between first and second place overall.
On the doubles side of competition, Karen Speer and Sami Hartoin led the way for the Lady Knights. After a first round bye, the sophomores came in ready for their second round battle. They easily downed Duculot and Metcalf of Salem 6-2, 6-0. In a matchup to secure their spots as state qualifiers, the unseeded duo took down the 2 seed pairing of Rittenhouse and Basler from Highland 6-1, 2-6, 6-3.
The pair entered a face off with 3 seed Alexander and Inskeep from Olney with yet another chance to take down a top seeded team. They rose to the occasion yet again and won by the same score as their previous match 6-1, 2-6, 3-6. This sent the pair to the doubles championship bout.
Speer and Hartoin were yet again pitted against a high seed, this time the number 1 seeded squad from Olney, Doll and Berhener. The pair lost in two sets 2-6, 4-6. This place the young duo as the second doubles team in the sectional. They also contributed a total of 8 points to Triad’s overall tally of 28.
A pair of seniors also represented Triad in the doubles portion of the sectional. The talented pairing of Haley Jackson and Darian Liley teamed up and were given a first round bye. Against the duo of Harness and Eisenhauer from Salem, they cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 win in the second round.
In their third round match, the senior pair challenged 4 seed Kesler and Edson of Centralia. Jackson and Liley won that 6-4, 6-2 to become state qualifiers. Their semifinal match was against the top seeded duo of Doll and Burgener from Olney. Despite claiming the first set 7-6(4), the senior Lady Knights lost 1-6, 3-6 in the next two sets.
Their final match was in the doubles third place match against Alexander and Inskeep from Olney. The duos were very competitive, but Triad’s representatives lost 5-7, 4-6. The team finished as state qualifiers as the fourth doubles squad and scored 6 points towards the Lady Knight’s final score of 28, which was only 3 points ahead of second place.