HESSTON – Abilene opened the 2019 tennis season at the always-competitive Hesston Invitational on Thursday. The Cowgirls were one of eight teams in the competition.

“This was a tough tournament as always,” Abilene head coach Megan Berry said. “But, it is so good to get underway, and know in more detail what we need to work on. I think the girls battled some nerves but they all competed and represented Abilene well.”

Abilene joined the host school Hesston along with Buhler, Maize South, Wichita Trinity, McPherson, Wichita Collegiate and Smoky Valley in bracket play.

Abilene senior Shiann Olberding opened the season by going 1-2 at number one singles to finish in seventh place. Olberding had opening round 2-8 loss to Schneider of McPherson and then fell by the same score to Raucholz of Smoky Valley.

In the final round, Olberding defeated Russell of Maize South 8-3 for the win.

Abby Brooks took the court at number two singles and finished 0-3 on the night for eighth place. Brooks lost in the opener 0-8 to Brittany Teufel of Buhler. Next she battled Boles of Hesston 3-8 and finally Rich from Maize South 4-8.

In doubles competition, the Cowgirls sent Abi Lillard and Bella Sims out as their number one team and Allie Cross and Maggie Gillispie teamed at the number twos.

“Doubles play was a real positive as both teams came through the backside of the bracket to medal,” Berry said.

Lillard/Sims went 2-1 to earn fifth place. They began the day with a 4-8 loss to Hesston’s Martin/Unruh before winning the final two matches. Next, they defeated Klassen/Davis of Trinity 8-5 and finally Do/Schmaltz of Collegiate 8-2.

In the number twos, Cross/Gillispie also dropped their opener 2-8 to Carlson/Huerta of McPherson. Next, they defeated McMillen/Ahlstedt of Smoky Valley 8-6. In the final round, the Abilene pair won 8-3 over Hesston’s Martin/Dorzweller.

The Cowgirls travel to Chapman on Thursday to compete in the Chapman Quad.

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

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