The past few seasons have been all about White Oak. Another school is stealing some thunder this spring, though.
State power Franklin, which moved into the region this season, completed the opening day of the Class 2A Region III tennis championships still favored in boys and girls singles. The program owns the top seeds in both events, and neither Brent Wallingford nor Carrie Casey folded under pressure and are two wins away from booking a trip to College Station.
At Tyler Junior College's JoAnn Medlock Murphy Tennis Center, Wallingford coa-sted to the boys semifinals with a 6-3, 6-0 win against Paris Chisum's Marco Polo in the opening round and a 6-1, 6-0 victory against Haw-kins' Hunter Fair in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Casey dropped only one set all day in 6-0, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-1 wins against Woodville's Kelci Dean and White Oak's Whitney Simmons, respectively.
But their success doesn't mean White Oak won't be heard from on the final day when state berths are claimed. That's because in doubles, the Roughnecks still have the defending regional champs alive in top-seeded Tyler Keel-Collin McMullen (boys) and second-seeded Donald Griffin-Shelby Stillwell (mixed).
But with the past three boys titles having gone to the now-graduated Ian Story of White Oak, Wallingford has an opportunity to begin a new chapter today (Franklin formerly competed in Region II). He meets fourth-seeded Jesse Dameron of Kirbyville in the semifinals this morning (weather permitting) at 9.
The other semifinal features No. 3 Grant McDowell of Prairiland versus second-seeded Hayden Smith of Hughes Springs. The winners advance to the championship round, in which a trip to the state tournament (April 29-30 at Texas A&M University) will be on the line.
In the meantime, Casey reserved a spot in the semifinals against defending regional champion and third-seeded Anna Chaddick, who hails from Central Heights. The other semifinal features No. 4 Jennifer Motcheck of Kirbyville and second-seeded Kara Chitty of Frankston.
In boys doubles, Keel and McMullen breezed through the opening day to beat Sabine's Austin Gray-Collin Gray, 6-0, 6-1, and Centerville's Ethan Clossin-Raj Desai, 6-1, 6-2. The White Oak tandem meets third-seeded Drew Anderson and Landry Lin in the semifinals, while the other semifinal will feature No. 4 Dillon Seals and Tanner Sims of Kirbyville against second-seeded Luis Dorantes and Juan Rios of Hughes Springs.
In mixed doubles, Griffin and Stillwell cleared the first two rounds with a 6-0, 6-2 win against Sabine's Paul Mohr-Brandon Shields and a 6-0, 6-7 (6), 6-4 victory against Edgewood's Emily Rutter and Jacob Sharff. Griffin and Still take on third-seeded Austin Coker and Kristen Swoffard in the semifinal round, which also features top-seeded Jacob Rowe-Elizabeth Windon of Kirbyville against Carson Andrews and Hannah Ratzcliff of White Oak.
White Oak also advanced to the semifinals in girls doubles, thanks to fourth-seeded Joy Lowman and Kailee Simmons beating Redwater's Abby Burns-Morgan Craig in the opening round and Kirbyville's Aly Hunt-Alison Rowe in the quarterfinals. Lowman and Simmons meet No. 1 Shelby Allred and Layne Allred of Alba-Golden this morning.
The other semifinal pits No. 2 Amber Barker-Kara Jo Harris of Centerville against third-seeded Bailey Cates and Kayla Douglas of Edgewood.
Class 2A Region III Tennis Championships
At JoAnn Medlock-Murphy Tennis Center
Round of 16 — No. 1 Brent Wallingford, Franklin, d. Marco Polo, Paris Chisum, 6-3, 6-0; Hunter Fair, Hawkins, d. Dylan Copeland, Queen City, 6-3, 6-2; No. 4 Jesse Dameron, Kirbyville, d. Trent Hawks, Tatum, 6-0, 6-2; David Barnes, Grand Saline, d. Tyler Vintila, Palestine Westwood, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1; Mark Blackshear, Warren, d. Colton McGahee, Alba-Golden, 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 Grant McDowell, Prairiland, d. Michael Honea, Central Heights, 6-0, 6-2; Jacob Beaty, Troup, d. Ethan Stone, White Oak, 6-2, 6-3; No. 2 Hayden Smith, Hughes Springs, d. Gunner Hughes, Franklin, 7-5, 6-2.
Quarterfinals — Wallingford d. Fair, 6-1, 6-0; Dameron d. Barnes, 6-2, 7-5; McDowell d. Blackshear, 6-3, 6-3; Smith d. Beaty, 6-1, 6-0.
Round of 16 — No. 1 Carrie Casey, Franklin, d. Kelci Dean, 6-0, 6-0; Whitney Simmons, d. Payton Wiedman, Grand Saline, 6-3, 6-2; No. 3 Anna Chaddick, Central Heights, d. Nayla Girard, Hughes Springs, 6-0, 6-0; Kaylie Brown, Hawkins, d. Hope Waldon, Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill, 6-4, 6-1; Kendra McGahee, Edgewood, d. Alexis Lawson, Prairiland, 7-5, 6-1; No. 4 Jennifer Motcheck, Kirbyville, d. Faith Badders, Central Heights, 6-4, 6-4; Lexie Wall, Centerville, d. Jenny Barrios, Paul Pewitt, 7-6 (2), 6-2; No. 2 Kara Chitty, Frankston, d. Laura Denfield, White Oak, 6-0, 6-1.
Quarterfinals — Casey d. Simmons, 6-0, 6-1; Chaddick d. Brown, 6-2, 6-2; Motcheck d. McGahee, 6-3, 6-1; Chitty d. Wall, 6-0, 6-1.
No. 1 Tyler Keel-Collin McMullen, White Oak, d. Austin Gray-Collin Gray, Sabine, 6-0, 6-1; Raj Desai-Ethan Clossin, Centerville, d. Kevin Do-Matthew Putnam, Central Heights, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4; No. 2 Drew Anderson, Kountze, Landry Lin, Kountze, d. Shane Flannery-Andy Nolan, Hughes Springs, 6-1, 6-3; Lathem Akins-Austin Boyles, Grand Saline, d. David Murdock, Matthew Murdock, Prairiland, 6-4 6-2; Caleb Gatlin-Ethan Rester, Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill, d. Paul Spence-Elijah Turner, Hawkins, 6-4, 6-1; No. 4 Dillon Seals-Tanner Sims, Kirbyville, d. Clayton Chadwick-Steven Do, Central Heights, 6-0, 6-2; Case McGowan-Trent Phelps, Grand Saline, d. Tanner Davis-Nick McFarland, White Oak, 6-4, 6-2; Seth Kissinger-Parker Matthews, Franklin, d. No. 2 Luis Dorantes-Juan Rios, Hughes Springs, 6-3, 7-6 (8).
Quarterfinals — Keel-McMullen d. Desai-Clossin, 6-1, 6-2; Anderson-Lin d. Akins-Boyles, 6-1, 6-0; Seals-Sims d. Gatlin-Rester, 6-2, 6-0; Dorantes-Rios d. Davis-McFarland, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (1).
Round of 16 -- No. 1 Shelby Allred-Layne Allred, Alba-Golden, d. Kaitlyn McGulley-Karly Mitchells, Franklin, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0; Lauren Dougharty-Kaylee Johnson, Central Heights, d. Tara Bond-Elise Bond, Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill, 7-5, 1-6, 6-2; No. 4 Joy Lowman-Kailee Simmons, White Oak, d. Abby Burns-Morgan Craig, Redwater, 6-4, 6-0; Aly Hunt-Allison Rowe, Kirbyville d. Hayle Booth-Mallory Winkler, Frankston, 6-1, 6-3; Emalee Ivey-Erin Sabulsky, Frankston, d. Shelbie Dollins-Cassity Egan, Prairiland, 6-2, 6-3; No. 3 Bailey Cates-Kayla Douglas, Edgewood, d. Hailey Ashley-Kate Wyly, Redwater, 6-1, 6-0; Enissa Lopez-Chelsea Young, Ore City, d. Katelyn Baggett-Claire Summers, Central Heights, 6-4, 6-2; No. 2 Ana Barker-Kara Jo Harris, Centerville, d. Morgan Mock-Morgan Whitener, Kirbyville, 6-1, 6-0.
Quarterfinals — Allred-Allred d. Dougharty-Johnson, 6-0, 6-0; Lowan-Simmons d. Hunt-Rowe, 6-1, 7-6 (3), Douglas-Cates d. Dollins-Egan, 6-1, 6-1; Barker-Harris d. Lopez-Young, 3-6, 6-0, 6-1.
Round of 16 -- No. 1 Jacob Rowe-Elizabeth Windon, Kirbyville, d. Caleb Baker-Anna Fortenberry, Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill, 6-4, 6-1; Lauren Black-Tyler Musgrove, Trinity, d. Quintin Green-Jordan Hunter, Troup, 6-2, 6-4; No. 4 Daniel Sharff-Mary Perez, Edgewood, d. Heather Brinson-Connor McCune, Central Heights, 6-2, 7-5; Carson Andrews-Hannah Ratzcliff, White Oak, d. Hunter Cox-Courtney Pedron, Redwater, 6-2, 6-2; Matthew Dillon-Lauren Phillips, Central Heights, d. Lane Burleson-Alyssa Bynum, Linden-Kildare, 6-3, 7-5; No. 3 Austin Coker-Kristen Swoffard, Woodville, d. Mikayla Baker-Hayden Camp, Centerville, 6-1, 6-0; Jacob Sharff-Emily Rutter, Edgewood, d. Beth Ledbetter-McKinley Terry, Mount Pleasant Chapel Hill, 6-3, 6-4; No. 2 Donald Griffin-Shelby Stillwell, White Oak, d. Pauline Mohr-Brandon Shields, Sabine, 6-0, 6-2.
Quarterfinals — Windon-Rowe d. Black-Musgrove, 6-2, 6-2; Andrews Ratzcliff d. Sharff-Perez, 6-2, 7-5; Coker-Swoffard d. Dillon-Phillips, 6-2, 7-5;