Claremore tennis coach Michael Larimer knew it’d be a tough task, and he was right.
After all, his team was going up against one of the top programs in Class 5A. And though the Zebras put forth a respectable effort, their virtuosity wasn’t quite enough to upset Cascia Hall.
The Commandos looked to be in midseason form, sweeping Claremore in singles and doubles competition at Claremore High on Tuesday afternoon.
Doubles pair James Stout and Owen McElwain came the closest to notching a victory, battling Cascia Hall’s Blake Van Doren and Conner Wood to a 7-6 decision in the first set of No. 1 doubles.
Van Doren and Wood went on claim the second set, 6-1, to claim the match win over the Claremore duo, which placed second in last year’s No. 2 doubles state tournament.
In No. 2 doubles, Preston Peck and Tanner Stedley fell to Gannon Murray and Logan De Los Santos, 6-4 and 6-1.
Morgan Choat and Daley Reynolds put up a good fight on the girls’ side against Jacqueline Perkins and Layla Drotar — 6-3, 6-2 — in No. 2 doubles, while Madison Rust and Sterling Sisovsky struggled against Erika Van Doren and Lindsay Perkins in a 6-3, 6-0 outing.
Erika Van Doren won the Class 5A No. 1 doubles state title alongside Emma Powers.
Things didn’t go any better in singles competition for the Zebras.
Erin Kuykendall was matched with Cascia Hall’s Houston Jennings, who placed fourth in No. 1 singles last year at the state tournament. Jennings put her experience to good use, defeating Kuykendalls — 6-0, 6-0 — in straight sets.
In No. 2 singles, senior Abbey Cox earned some points against Lucie Tuttle but ultimately fell 6-2, 6-3.
Micah Sloan held his own against Hunter Henry in No. 1 singles, losing by consecutive scores of 6-2. Michael McHugh struggled in No. 2 singles, though, failing to score a point in back-to-back shutout losses to Aiden Robinson.
“Cascia Hall is ranked in the top one or two in Class 5A, and they came with a real good team,” Larimer said. “It was good for us because we played good opponents, and that makes us better. We got humbled, which will make us work harder in practice. We’re looking forward to moving on to our next match and see if we can do a little bit better.”
Claremore returns to the court action on Monday, April 1 at Broken Arrow.