For 13 straight years the Lady Bulldogs won the NCKL tennis crown. 13 years, that is, until 2011.
Saturday the Lady Bulldogs retook their "natural" position at the top of the NCKL standings at the NCKL tournament, which was played in Abilene.
"It is good to get the tradition rolling again," said Marysville head coach Mary Kessinger-Wassom. "Sometimes it was like it was a monkey on our back so long. We kind of needed to get it knocked off, so now we are going to challenge the girls, that was 13, let’s go for more."
The tournament, as Kessinger-Wassom had predicted going in, was neck and neck the entire way through. Just five points separated the Lady Bulldogs from Chapman and Wamego, who tied for third and fourth in the tournament. Marysville won the title with 36 points while Abilene placed second with 33 points while Concordia finished in fifth with 18 points. Clay Center finished sixth with 3 points.
Marysville is the smallest school in the NCKL, as it is currently Class 3A while the other five teams are Class 4A. But the difference in classification was nothing new for the Lady Bulldogs.
"We have always been a part of this league so to me (being the smaller school) is no surprise or no difference," Kessinger-Wassom said. "We play against 6A, 5A and 4A schools all year long, so that was OK. I just knew it was going to be a total challenge, every match was going to matter. You could see there wasn’t one dominant team today. Any team could have won today."
The Lady Bulldogs also won an individual gold medal from Dani Swartz, who went 5-0 in No. 1 singles. Concordia’s Danielle Timme was second at No. 1 singles with a 3-2 record while Chapman’s Shelbi Mathis finished third, also with a 3-2 record but lost individually to Mathis.
Abilene’s Carly Wilson won the No. 2 singles title with a 5-0 record, knocking off Wamego’s Lanie Page 8-2 in the final round for the championship.
Wamego’s tandem of Rikki Alderson and Kaylee Page went 5-0 in No. 1 doubles to win the title, topping Abilene’s Ana Weissenbach and Michaela Olberding 8-0 in the final round for the championship.
Chapman’s tandem of Diane Abott and Brittany Duer were 5-0 in No. 2 doubles to win the championship while Abilene’s Liz Minson and Mallory Olberding finished second with a 4-1 record and Marysville’s Kassie Breeshears and Lauran Hawkinson were third with a 3-2 record.
"I thought we played well," Kessinger-Wassom said. "It was like a whole day experience. I was proud of the girls. I think we have a good chance in the 1A through 3A. I think we have a good chance as a team to do well. I’m excited, we needed this to get going in the right direction for next week."
The teams are now off until next Friday when they begin competition in regional tournaments.