Elyssa Frieze

Chapman freshman Elyssa Frieze places third at regional and qualifies for Class 4A State Tennis Tournament this week in Topeka.

BUHLER ­— Chapman freshman Elyssa Frieze took her undefeated first year record to Buhler Saturday and after going 3-1 she finished in third place in the Class 4A Regional hosted by Buhler High School.

Frieze, a talented freshman who has been playing tennis since she was in first grade, has worked with a private coach prior to beginning her time at Chapman High School. This year under Chapman head coach Christal Ade, Frieze will head to Topeka next week with a 14-1 mark. She missed at least two weeks of competition as Chapman High School was shut down due to COVID concerns.

“I have been playing tennis since I was in the first grade,” Frieze said. “I work with a private coach and I play all year long and go to USTA tournaments where I have done pretty well there. I’m having a lot of fun this year.”

Saturday, the first year high schooler, entered the tournament as the third seed with an 11-0 mark. In her opening round, Frieze defeated Ashlyn Luna of El Dorado 6-1, 6-0. She then advanced to the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-2 win against Gracie Dawes of Hesston. Dawes was the sixth seed with a 19-5 record.

In the semifinals match, Frieze battled Buhler’s Brittany Tuefel, the two-seed, in order to advance to the championship. Tuefel survived 6-1, 7-6(5) on Saturday. With just her first loss of the season, Frieze went to the third-fourth place match knowing that she had punched her ticket to play next week against the best in the state in Class 4A.

“I wish we could have played more tournaments,” Frieze said. “But, my year is going great and like I said I’m having a lot of fun.”

Frieze defeated a talented Kacey Lehl of Buhler 6-2, 6-0 for the third place medal. Lehl, a junior at Buhler High School, got to the semifinals after defeating Lacie Duvall of Concordia 6-0, 6-0 and then battling Abilene’s Allie Cross 6-0, 6-4 to advance. Lehl then fell to the eventual regional champion Annabelle Adams (25-1) from Circle High School. Adams defeated Tuefel 6-1, 6-0 to head the state tournament as the regional champion.

“Overall, Elyssa has played consistently and focused all season,” Chapman coach Ade said. “Her ability to adapt and adjust in the match against Tuefel is what makes her such a great player. She never quits. She plays each point as if it is the last point in the match. She definitely has a chance to come home a state medalist.”

COVID has forced a number of changes to high school sports already this school year as tournaments were canceled or played with limited participation. Frieze and her Chapman teammates missed the North Central Kansas League tournament because of her school being quarantined. The pandemic has also affected the state tournament as fewer participants qualified this year when each regional will only send the top four singles and doubles teams instead of the customary six qualifiers.

Once the state tournament begins this week at Topeka-Kossover Tennis Complex, players, coaches and spectators will follow protocols outlined by KSHSAA including wearing masks, social distancing and as much control of the tennis balls as possible. Doubles play will begin at around 9:30 Friday morning with singles matches slated to begin about 2 p.m. Semi-finals, championships and consolation matches are scheduled for Saturday at 9:20 a.m.

“Today I was trying to relax and stay confident and play my own game,” Frieze said. “My goal for state is just play the best I can and hopefully win at least one match.”

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

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