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Prep Sports Notebook: Defending champs awarded top seeds for 9th Region girls tennis tournament

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

The singles and doubles champions from last year’s 9th Region girls tennis tournament will defend their titles as the top seeds in the 2019 playoffs that are scheduled to start Monday morning at Lloyd High School.

Cooper sophomore Ellie Zureick is the top seed in singles. Last year, she became her school’s first-ever regional tennis champion when she defeated Sara Watanabe of Covington Latin, 6-1, 6-1, in the final. Watanabe returns as the No. 2 seed this week.

Ryle seniors Elizabeth Hamilton, left, and Hailemae Laurino are defending champs and top seeds in 9th Region girls doubles.

The top seeded doubles team is Ryle seniors Elizabeth Hamilton and Hailemae Laurino, who also made some school history last year. They won their school’s first-ever regional doubles champions title and scored the points the Raiders needed to take the girls team title for the first time.

Ryle finished on top in the team standings with 13 points, followed by Notre Dame with 11. It was the first time since 1995 that Notre Dame did not carry off the regional championship trophy.

Hamilton and Laurino continued their successful post-season run by making it to the semifinal round of the state doubles tournament before losing to the top-seed.

The first two rounds of this year’s 9th Region girls tennis tournament will be played Monday beginning at 9 a.m. at Lloyd. Matches are scheduled after school hours the rest of the week with the finals taking place on Thursday.

The top seeds and brackets for the 9th Region boys tennis tournament at Covington Catholic will be determined at a coaches meeting at 7 p.m. Monday. The first two rounds of the 10th Region boys and girls tournaments at Campbell County are already in the book with quarterfinal matches set for Monday.

Campbell County junior Anderson McDowell is the top seed and defending champ in 10th Region boys singles while two of his teammates, Noah Bertsch and Nick Wittrock, are the top seed in boys doubles. The top seed in girls singles went to Campbell County sophomore Natalie Smith, who was regional runner-up last year and made it to the semifinals as an eighth-grader.

All of them are scheduled to play quarterfinal matches on Monday. Smith will take the court at at 4 p.m., McDowell at 5:15 p.m. and Bertsch-Wittrock at 6:30 p.m.

High school swimmers on Clippers club team to sign with colleges

Nine high school swimmers who are members of the Northern Kentucky Clippers club team will take part in a college signing ceremony on Monday at Silverlake in Erlanger.

Allie Piccirillo

The list includes four Notre Dame Academy seniors who will be going to different colleges – Allie Piccirillo (Florida), Liza Muller (Cincinnati), Anna Holt (Bellarmine) and Jenna Cayze (Thomas More).

Piccirillo holds six Clippers team records in different age groups and made the Olympic Trials cut in the 200 butterfly. She was named the outstanding female swimmer in the Region 7 high school meet last February when she set a regional record in the girls 500 freestyle (4:51.25).

The other girls who will sign with colleges on Monday are Highlands senior Olivia Hopper (Centre) and Dixie Heights senior Brooke Spritzky, who will attend  Kentucky and not join the swim team

The three boys who will take part in Monday’s signing ceremony are Covington Catholic seniors Ethan Hanna (Cincinnati), Patrick Merse (U.S. Naval Academy) and Bradley Kathman, who will attend Louisville and swim on the club team.

Over the last eight years, Merse put his name in the Clippers record books by swimming the best times in nine individual events. He was also on four record-setting relay teams. Last February, he set a Region 7 high school record in the boys 100 breaststroke (57.16).

KHSAA approves spectator conduct provision for high school sports

Any spectator who is removed from a Kentucky high school sports events for “unsportsmanlike conduct” will be suspended from attending the next event or more, according to a provision to be added to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association policies and procedures.

The KHSAA Board of Control approved a recommendation from Commissioner Julian Tackett to add that provision at its meeting last week.

It states: “Any adult spectator (adult who is not listed on the current roster of coaches for the school) at any KHSAA sanctioned interscholastic event (scrimmage, regular or postseason contest) who is removed by school administrators or by law enforcement (whether or not referred by a contest official) for unsportsmanlike conduct shall be suspended from attending, at minimum, the next contest at that level of competition and all other contests at any level in the interim.”

“Hopefully this is a deterrent that, when implemented in our schools, becomes that one last chance for people to stop short of acting in such an unsportsmanlike manner that ejection is the only option,” Tackett said in a press release.

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