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Kapaun Mt. Carmel’s Whitaker completes four-peat, wins 4th 5A tennis crown

KMC's Clara Whitaker won 4th straight 5A singles championship Saturday
KMC's Clara Whitaker won 4th straight 5A singles championship Saturday(Matt Henderson)
Published: Oct. 17, 2020 at 5:17 PM CDT
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ANDOVER, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Kapaun Mt. Carmel tennis standout Clara Whitaker was one of many to take the court in the first sanctioned event since the pandemic forced cancellations of all sports last March. She went undefeated on the day, setting the tone for the rest of her season. Saturday, that all culminated in an unbeaten season and a fourth consecutive state championship in Class 5A singles, the first championships held since the end of February..

Whitaker becomes just the fourth in girls state tennis history in the state of Kansas to accomplish the feat, and only the second in 5A or above, joining KMC alum Megan Russell who accomplished the feat from 1993-96.

The Crusader senior didn’t drop a set for the entire tournament, falling in just five games across her four rounds of play. She won the championship round 6-1, 6-2 over teammate Reagan Boleski, the second straight year she topped Boleski in the final.

Bishop Carroll senior Paige Stranghoner finished third, beating freshman teammate Brynn Steven for a second consecutive third place medal.

Joining forces mid-season, Andover’s Sinclair sisters take doubles title

Andover’s Emma and Sarah Sinclair grew up playing tennis together, but never as partners; senior Emma played doubles and junior Sarah singles, but in the middle of the season the two sisters joined forces. Saturday that proved to be a winning move, the Sinclair sisters taking home their first state tennis championship on their home court.

Facing Bishop Carroll’s Hope and Heidi Lubbers, it was an sisterly final that went the way of Andover. The Sinclair’s took the first set 6-2 in a dominant start. But the second was more back and forth. Leading 5-4, the potential match-winning game turned sour for the Andover duo, with the Lubbers twins fighting back from four match points and finally winning the deuce to tie the match and 5, extending it by at least two games.

But those two went the way of the Sinclair sisters, finishing out the match for a 6-2, 7-5 win for a 17-1 overall record as a pairing.

Salina South’s Iliana Armbrust & Alexxa Nunemaker topped Grace Unruh and Lauren Sweeney of Topeka-Seaman in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2 for the third place medal.

Bishop Carroll took home the overall team championship, their second title in the last three years. The runner-up finish and doubles and third and fourth place finish in singles were enough for 24 points, beating Kapaun by a two points margin. Andover finished third.

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