May 24—The 3rd Region Tennis Tournament held at Centre Court last week proved to be a huge success for Owensboro area teams and individuals, and they will be attempting to parlay that success during this week’s KHSAA state tournament in Lexington.
The Owensboro area has a history of success in high school tennis, of course, with several state championships through the years, but last week’s regional performance was nonetheless eye-catching — above and beyond.
Kudos to them all.
The Owensboro Catholic High School girls’ team was particularly impressive, with top-seeded Ella Cason capturing the singles’ title with a 6-1, 6-1 conquest of Daviess County’s Charly Hayden.
And — in an all-Catholic doubles championship match — it was the No. 1 seeded team of Kate Young-Emmy Moore turning back the challenge of second-seeded Olivia Hayden-Aisha Merchant, 6-2 6-2.
The championship represented sheer domination on the girls’ side for coach Noel Clayton’s talented and deep Lady Aces, who captured yet another regional team title, as well.
It was more of a mixed bag on the boys’ side, but certainly no less compelling.
In singles, Owensboro’s Dylan Mather — in his eighth season as a varsity netter for the Red Devils — winning his first individual championship with a convincing 6-0, 6-2 win over Grayson County’s Owen Brown. In the process, Mather became the first OHS individual to win a regional title in 19 years.
In doubles, meanwhile, it was the Daviess County tandem of Graham Sandefur-Camden Clark — seeded second — rallying to upset the No. 1 seed, Meade County’s Payton Johnston-Clay Dupin, 7-5, 7-5.
The victory helped coach Jack Etchison’s DC program capture its first overall team regional title since 2006.
The point here is that high school tennis is unquestionably moving in the right direction in the Owensboro area, and with a wealth of young talent coming up the ranks the trend should continue for many years to come.
Moreover, the combination of building a first-rate facility such as Centre Court and major renovations to the ever-popular courts at Moreland Park has contributed incalculably to the appeal of the sport in the Owensboro area.
The next step for Owensboro area high school tennis is to become a major figure on the statewide scene, and the results from the recent regional championships suggest that the process already may well be under way.
Upward and onward.