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Morning Sun
  • Short makes cut for state

  • Pittsburg sophomore Katy Short qualified for the Class 4A state tournament on Saturday with a third-place finish at Regionals.

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  • Pittsburg sophomore Katy Short qualified for the Class 4A state tournament on Saturday with a third-place finish at Regionals.
    Her first opponent Friday could be three possibilities: No. 6 seeds Katherine Geist of McPherson (21-14), Emily Sarnacki of Winfield (21-12) or Emily Mulvihill of Perry-Lecompton (23-11).
    “She’s got a shot at each one of them,” Pittsburg head tennis coach John Seal said Tuesday. “I feel like she can play with anybody. We’re anticipating a good match and good results.”
    In the first tournament of the season, however, Short did not resemble a future state qualifier.
    “She started out 1-3,” Seal said. “That was tough for her first tournament. The next tournament she went 4-0 and since then, she’s hardly lost. She was 3-1 at Regionals. She beat the No. 2 seed from Ottawa. When you’re 3-1 at Regionals, you know you’re doing something right.”
    Short finished second at the Jaguar Invitational (Mill Valley) earlier this season, pulling off a huge first-round upset en route to the championship match. She beat Sarah Wetzel of Mill Valley — a three-time Class 5A state qualifier — on her home court, 8-7.
    Short won her next two matches against players from KC Sumner and Spring Hill before a 8-1 championship match loss to Morgan Steffes of Blue Valley, her fellow sophomore who claimed an Eastern Kansas League singles title and third place at state her freshman year.
    “She’s tremendously fast,” Seal said. “She’s one of the fastest players I’ve ever had, if not the fastest.
    Collectively to the ball, she’s there. She gets to balls that most people can’t. She’s just a great athlete.
    In addition to her speed, she has great anticipation. Plus, she works extremely hard. She worked hard today in practice.”
    Short (a first-time state qualifier), sophomore Abbi Groff of Independence, freshman Jennifer Harrison of Fort Scott, sophomore Jaya Mantovani of Wichita Collegiate and sophomore Sarnacki of Winfield are the lone underclassmen in the 24-player field and 10 players have more than Short’s 22 wins this season.
    Regional champions in the field include Groff (29-6), Ali Anderson of Hesston (28-3), Brooke Withrow of Wichita Collegiate (28-0) and Paige Williams of De Soto (32-3).
    Seal called 4A “tough” — mentioning high-quality programs like Independence, Wichita Collegiate, McPherson, Smoky Valley and Hesston.
    “We’re happy we’re going,” Seal said. “It’s a challenge.”
    Friday matches begin at 11:30 a.m. and Saturday matches 9 a.m.
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