Norton Community's Tawni Griffey is not an intimidating looking tennis player. She's not that tall, slight of build and has long flowing blonde hair. But tennis players in Class 3-2-1A can't help but be intimidated by the dominating way she plays on the court.
"She's an amazing player," said Norton head coach Jim Green. "She puts a lot of time in, plays a lot of USTA matches. She's really dedicated herself to tennis."
Griffey lost just three games all weekend en route to the Regional championship in Russell, including two games in a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Ellswoth's Rachel Herzog in the championship. She won her other three matches 6-0, 6-0; 6-0, 6-0; 6-1, 6-0.
"This was a really strong regional," said Griffey. "It was great to come out and play against these girls."
The Russell regional, like many across the state was plagued by cold and rain, but suffered just on significant stoppage of play on Friday. Still it made it hard to find a rhythm.
"It was pretty tough going on and off with the rain," said Griffey. "But I think everyone has the same problem so we were all pretty much equal."
With the cold and rain behind Griffey for now, last year's runner up in Class 3-2-1A now has her sights on doing one better this season.
"I'm hoping to get to the finals and hopefully win," said Griffey. " Just play well, one step at a time."
Central Plains dominated on the doubles side taking first (Hekele and Hipp) and third (Kempke and Beck). The third ranked Lady Oilers easily bested fifth ranked Ellinwood by five points for the team title.
These are the state qualifiers from the Russell Regional:
1 Tawni Griffey (Norton)
2 Rachel Herzog (Ellsworth)
3 Omelia Thomas (Ellinwood)
4 Breanna Schartz (Central Plains)
5 Deiah Curtis (Hoisington)
6 Taylor Noel (Osborne)
1 Janae Hekele/Katie Hipp (Central Plains)
2 Rachel Doll/Danar Patten (Ellinwood)
3 Aubrey Kempke/Karli Beck (Central Plains)
4 Julia Hood/Ashley Sippel (Ellsworth)
5 Brooke Boyington/Kaitlyn Vogel (Phillipsburg)
6 Abby Dreher/Brooklyn Sidebottom (Russell)
Get complete results from the 3-2-1 regional at Russell HERE