Girls tennis players compete at state


The Kansas state girls tennis tournament took place on Oct. 14-15 at Andover Public Schools Tennis Complex. Natalie Hershberger, Giulia Introini, and Haley Ruth represented Newton High School at the tournament. Hershberger and Intoini qualified as doubles partners while Haley qualified for singles.
In order to qualify for state, players have to place in the top six in the regional tournament, for both doubles and singles. There are 16 teams in each regional tournament, seeding is determined by the regular season record. Ruth placed fourth at regionals, upsetting the third seed in the quarter-finals. Hershberger and Introini placed third starting out the tournament as the three seed. Overall, NHS as a team took fourth place in the tournament.
“We work the whole season going to tournaments to get regional wins and indirect regional wins over other teams in our regional,” Ruth said. “These wins and losses determine your seeding in regionals. For regionals, I was seeded sixth and had to win my first match to even have the opportunity to qualify for state. I couldn’t believe that I had beaten the three seed or that I qualified for state. I was super excited to be able to go and I was even happier when Natalie and Giulia qualified too.”
Only 24 teams out of all of the 5A schools in Kansas qualify. Going into state, Ruth had a record of 12-14 and Hershberger-Introini’s record was 18-6. These were both Ruth and Hershberger-Introini’s first year qualifying for state.
“This was my first year going to state. Last year I was doubles partners with Carlie Franz and we were one match away from getting to go, so we were close,” Hershberger said. “I was very excited about how we played in state. I completely did not expect to get fourth, nor did I even expect to place at state at the beginning of the year. When we made it, Giulia and my goal was to medal, so we were happy.”
In the aspect of playing doubles in tennis, teamwork is key. According to Kingsbury Club, good communication involves constant support for your partner. Be a cheerleader for your team, and always encourage your partner to go for her shot. This year was Hershberger and Introini’s first year playing together.
“My relationship with Natalie is really good, we are good friends and we are getting really close. I think that this was the key because doubles is always a match made by two and so a match made by teamwork,” Introini said. “In the state, there were lots of doubles players that have known each other in a lifetime, me and Natalie only one month, so we did pretty good, thinking also that I have never played doubles before.”
According to Peak Performance Sports, worrying about results, game conditions and the opposing team can increase the sense of pressure experienced by athletes.
“I feel like in my first round I could have won another day. I was super upset after my first match because I didn’t play to my standards and knew I could have made it further if I had won,” Ruth said.