BUHLER – The Hesston Invitational Tennis Tournament is always one of the toughest meets of the entire season simply because of the gathered talent at the event.

Perennial tennis powers McPherson, Buhler, Wichita Collegiate, Trinity Academy and the host school Hesston are always there. The tournament had to be moved to Buhler’s courts this year because of availability – but the competition was still strong.

“The Hesston meet lived up to its billing as our toughest tournament but it was great to be out there playing,” Abilene head coach Megan Berry said.

The Cowgirls ran into some tough draws right off the bat as they finished seventh as a team on the day. Buhler took team honors with 24 points followed by McPherson 20, Maize South 18, Collegiate 14, Trinity Academy 11, Hesston 11, Abilene and Smoky Valley with 7.

“The wins and losses are important,” Berry said. “But, with it being the first meet of the season, it’s really about how we use this meet to move forward and get better. The girls all played well and continued to get better throughout the day.”

In singles competition, junior Allie Cross finished seventh going 1-2 in the number one singles bracket. Cross opened with a 0-8 loss to eventual meet runner-up Ella Graham of Collegiate. Next, she battled Addison Russell of Maize South falling 5-8. She rebounded with an 8-1 victory over Logan Spencer of Smoky Valley.

Number two singles Matigan Kobiskie had the same issue, as her first draw was the eventual champion Gracie Dawes of Hesston. Dawes won the opener 8-1. Kobiske then fell to Collegiate’s Tatum Bhargava 1-8. In her final match, Kobiske dropped a 0-8 match to Sophia Majors from Trinity Academy.

“Our singles players Matigan and Allie really battled in a tough draw and had some lengthy points in their matches,” coach Berry said.

Abilene’s number two doubles team of Bella Sims and Maggie Gillispie won their opening match over a pair from Smoky Valley. Next they faced the eventual meet champions from Buhler in the quarterfinals falling 0-8. Sims and Gillispie battled McPherson in the third/fourth place match but fell 4-8 to finish fourth.

The number one doubles team of Maddie Beswick and Abi Lillard finished sixth after opening to the bracket champions Dobson/Berger of McPherson 3-8. In their second match, Beswick/Lillard bested a pair from Hesston 8-1 before battling Collegiate to the wire. In the fifth place match, the Abilene duo fell in a tiebreaker 8-7(4) to Kemnitz/Nichols.

“Beswick and Lillard lost their last match in a tiebreaker, coming up just short of winning the backside of the bracket,” Berry said. “Sims and Gillispie got off to a great start placing them in the top half of the bracket and then ran into some tough teams from Buhler and McPherson.”

Next up for the Cowgirls varsity team is a quad at Chapman and a quad at Clay Center both on Thursday afternoon Sept. 3.

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

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

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