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Covington Latin sophomore Sara Wantanabe reaches final four in girls singles at state tennis tournament

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Covington Latin sophomore Sara Wantanabe is the only local player who made it to the semifinal round of the state high school tennis tournament that’s scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday at Top Seed Tennis Club in Lexington.

Wantanabe lived up to her No. 3 seed in girls singles by winning four matches in the first two days of the state tournament. She will face second-seeded Ellie Eades of Louisville Sacred Heart in the 9 a.m. semifinal round with the winner moving on to the championship match at 2 p.m.

Sara Wantanabe (File photo by Bob Jackson)

The last local player to win a state title in girls singles was Maddie Cook of Notre Dame in 2012. Meredith Laskey of Highlands was state runner-up in 2014 and reached the state semifinals in 2015.

Wantanabe, who won her first 9th Region singles title two weeks ago, defeated both opponents she faced on Wednesday without losing a game.

Her victory over Elizabethtown sophomore Jai Garris in the quarterfinals made her the first Covington Latin player to reach the state final four in girls singles since 2001 when Miriam Rahali was state runner-up.

Eades, who defeated Katherine Taylor of Beechwood, 6-0, 6-1, in the round of 16, is a senior who was state runner-up in 2018 and lost in the semifinals in 2019. Last year’s state tennis tournament was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Cooper senior Ellie Zureick lost to top-seed and two-time state champion Carrie Beckman of Sacred Heart, 7-6 (3), 6-0, in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round of girls singles. In girls doubles, Lauren Janzaruk and Taylor Meenach of Notre Dame lost to top-seeded Ellie Hammond and Gracie Koch of Sacred Heart, 6-1, 6-0, in the round of 16.

Ryan Bosch and Andrew Kennedy of Covington Catholic were eliminated in the quarterfinal round of the boys doubles bracket on Wednesday. The season ended in the round of 16 for Highlands doubles partners Eli Back and Eli Hornsby and singles players Brady Hussey and Jackson Poulous of CovCath and Kuzu Wantanabe of Covington Latin.

Scores of all the state tennis tournament matches are posted on the khsaa.org website.

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