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Top seeds in 9th Region boys tennis tournament have little trouble advancing to quarterfinal round

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

The top eight seeds in singles and doubles all won matches in straight sets during the opening rounds of the 9th Region boys tennis tournament on Saturday at Covington Catholic and Notre Dame.

The boys tournament will resume on Monday at CovCath with eight quarterfinal matches between the seeded contenders. The 9th Region girls tournament is scheduled to begin on Monday at Notre Dame.

CovCath freshman Brady Hussey won his first match as the 9th Region tournament’s top-seeded singles player in straight sets. (Photo by Bob Jackson)

Top-seed singles player Brady Hussey of CovCath had a first-round bye and then defeated Andrew Goodwin of St. Henry, 6-0, 6-0, to reach the quarterfinals. Hussey, a freshman, was in the first grade when his older brother, Austin, won the state singles championship in 2013.

The second-seeded singles player is Covington Latin junior Kuzu Wantanabe. Two years ago, he lost to his older brother, Toshi, in the region final and then made it to the round of 16 in the state tournament. Last year, tennis was among the spring sports cancelled due to the pandemic.

Another set of brothers, Peter and John Laskey, are among the top seeds in the quarterfinals of this year’s singles tournament. Peter, the No. 4 seed, is a senior who qualified for the state tournament four consecutive years from 2016 to 2019 in singles or doubles.

The region’s top-seeded boys doubles team is Eli Back and Eli Hornsby of Highlands. After a first-round bye, the two freshmen defeated Griffin Smith and Cole Hetzel of Beechwood, 6-1, 6-1, on Saturday to reach the quarterfinals in their first varsity season together.

Joey Case of Villa Madonna returns a shot in a doubles match. (Photo by Bob Jackson)

In one of the closest doubles matches on Saturday, second-seeded Joey Case and Matthew Marlette of Villa Madonna defeated Leo Allesh and Ben McDaniel of Ryle, 6-3, 6-4.

CovCath and Highlands are currently tied for first place in the boys team standings with eight points. Ryle and Villa Madonna are next in line with five points each.

The top seeds in girls singles going into Monday’s first round are juniors Sara Wantanabe of Covington Latin and Ellie Zureick of Cooper. Two years ago, Zureick defeated Wantanabe in the region final and they’re expected to meet again in the title match, according to the seeding committee.

Notre Dame has the top two teams in the girls doubles bracket. Lauren Janzaruk and Taylor Meenach are seeded No. 1 with Hailey Fullkenkamp and Samantha Bailey right behind them at No. 2.

The region champion, runner-up and other two semifinalists in both singles and doubles advance to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association boys and girls state tournaments that are scheduled for June 1-3 at the University of Kentucky tennis complex.

Monday at Covington Catholic

SINGLES (Seeds before names)
1-Brady Hussey (CovCath) vs. 5-Shayaan Ahmad (Villa Madonna), 3:45 p.m.
4-Peter Laskey (Highlands) vs. 7-Matthew Pham (Dixie Heights), 4:30 p.m.
2-Kuzu Wantanabe (Covington Latin) vs. 8-Matthew Zureick (Cooper), 3:45 p.m.
3-Jackson Poulos (CovCath) vs. 6-John Laskey (Highlands), 3:45 p.m.

DOUBLES (Seeds before names)
1-Eli Back-Eli Hornsby (Highlands) vs. 7-Chris Harpum-Justus Guard (Ryle), 5 p.m.
3-Kalei Christensen-Alex Yeager (Holy Cross) vs. 5-Daniel Kyntchev-Tre Lohre (CovCath), 5 p.m.
2-Joey Case-Matthew Marlette (Villa Madonna) vs. 6-Matthew Erickson-Josh Finseth (Highlands), 5 p.m.
4-Ryan Bosch-Andrew Kennedy (CovCath) vs. 8-Luke Salzman-Nick Noll (St. Henry), 5 p.m.

Matches begin Monday at Notre Dame

Singles — 1-Sara Wantanabe (Covington Latin), 2-Ellie Zureick (Cooper), 3-Katherine Taylor (Beechwood), 4-Martine Hue (Notre Dame), 5-Paetyn Ashcraft (Villa Madonna), 6-Alana Tinnell (Boone County), 7-Emma Hudson (Dixie Heights), 8-Olivia Hoffmann (Highlands).
Doubles — 1-Lauren Janzaruk-Taylor Meenach (Notre Dame), 2-Hailey Fullkenkamp-Samantha Bailey (Notre Dame), 3-Allyse Rassenfoss-Natalie Elleman (Conner), 4-Elizabeth Wintershiemer-Mehr Brar (Beechwood), 5-Bria Patel-Kelsey Holland (Villa Madonna), 6-Jenna Berling-Rachel Gillman (St. Henry), 7-Helen Halbauer-Ada Donelan (Highlands), 8-Kyah Andros-Avery Love (Ryle).

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