EMPORIA, Kan. "Fourth try's the charm!"
That was Arkansas City senior Kelsie Burr after her and teammate Jacey Arnett took home the doubles title at 5A State Tennis Saturday afternoon. A year ago in 4A, Burr and Chassidy Weathers came up just shy, falling in the title match in three sets. This year, now up a class, there was no third set necessary.
Trailing the Bishop Carroll duo of Lauren Steven and Paige Stranghoner 4-3 in the first set, the Bulldogs came back to win the next three games to take set one 6-4.
In the second, they again fell behind early but took a 5-4 lead into Championship point where the two teams went back and forth in, with Arnett finally ending the match with the advantage in deuce to bring home the win to Ark City.
In the singles final, it was a rematch from 2017 with defending champion Clara Whitaker of Kapaun facing rival Brittany Steven of Bishop Carroll. For the sophomore Whitaker, a win would mean a possible four titles in four years stays alive. For Steven, it was one final chance to win state before graduation.
But the match--much like the every match she played--was all Whitaker. She lost just three games the entire tournament, one of those in the first set against Brittany Steven, winning the singles title going away 6-1, 6-0.
Not all was lost for the Golden Eagles, however. The two runner-up finishes paired with Brayden Steven taking fourth in singles gave Bishop Carroll their first team title since 2012.