There’s joy in Benton and Nappanee as those two communities are celebrating after winning high school girls regional tennis championships Saturday in LaPorte.
Fairfield sophomore Emily Mast defeated senior Michaela Egrlova of Hammond Morton 6-0, 6-0 in a semifinal match and junior Abigail Schmidt of Marquette Catholic 6-0, 6-1 in the finale at No. 1 singles.
NorthWood senior Kennedy Walter and junior Tori Schwartz had a first-round bye before defeating juniors Ellen Kerr and Natalie Petro of Chesterton 7-5, 7-5 in the championship at No. 1 doubles.
Mast and Walter and Schwartz will advance to the state finals next Friday and Saturday at Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis.
Mast is going to state for the second straight season.
“Emily played well. She did a nice job of bringing her best tennis to the regional,” Fairfield coach Mike Filbrun said. “Her serves today were some of the best I’ve seen from her in awhile and when she can be on the advantage at the start of a point she is tough to beat.
“Experience is one thing you can’t recreate so having gone to state last year should help her. She should be more comfortable with the setting. Of course the one thing out of her control is the draw.”
Mast improved to 28-0 on the season. She broke the school record for wins in a season of 27 set in 1998 by Sarah (Huber) Beehler.
Walter and Schwartz improved their record to 18-3.
“Since we didn’t have a first-round match we watched Chesterton play,” NorthWood coach Tif Schwartz said. “It took us some time to warm up in our match with them. We played very tentative at the start. We looked like we were playing not to lose. We lost the first two games, but the girls responded by taking the lead at 5-4. They had to break serve to win the first set 7-5. They stayed ahead in the second set but still had to break serve to win 7-5.”
Walter and Schwartz are the first NorthWood players to make it to state since Anna Kitson and Erin Hoffer about seven or eight years ago according to coach Schwartz.
Also at No. 1 singles, Wawasee senior Katy Ashhpole dropped a decision by default to junior Abigail Schmidt of Marquette Catholic.