Devils come up short

PARKERSBURG-If you are involved in athletics, especially on the high school level for any amount of time, then you are bound to feel both the “thrill of victory” and “the agony of defeat”.

Ritchie County’s Veronica Mueller felt both Friday at the Class AA/A Region I tennis tournament conducted at the Erickson All-Sports Facility.

The Rebels senior came up two points short (9-7) in her showdown with Wheeling Central’s Joanna Capito in the No. 1 singles final, but then bounced back to team up with senior Olivia Haught to knock off Oak Glen’s Haley Spurlock and Madison Juszczak by an 8-5 score to take home the top prize in No. 1 doubles.

“I really had my hopes set on winning the singles title, but at least I got a chance to win one regional title and with Olivia (Haught),” said Mueller. “The big thing is that I qualified for both at the state meet next week.”

And, that really was the key for every team and individual that showed up for the two-day event as the top four finishers at No. 1 singles, the top 3 at No. 2, the top two at No. 3 and the champion at No. 4 earned berths as did the top three pairs in No. 1 doubles, the top two at No. 2 doubles and the champions at No. 3 doubles.

“It is all about getting out of region and qualifying for states,” said St. Marys head coach Tad Light. “As a team, I knew that we would come in strong and that we’d have a chance to send a lot of kids to state.”

And, send a lot of kids the Blue Devils did as A.J. Harris captured the No. 4 singles title and then teamed up with Marcus Moore to take the No. 2 doubles crown with an 8-4 win.

Those won’t be the only ones heading to the Charleston as Drew Poling and Moore finished second at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively.

Winning the boys title was Wheeling Central with 21 points while Madonna and St. Marys finished a close second and third with 20 and 19 points. Rounding out the team scoring were Fairmont Senior (11), East Fairmont (8), Braxton County (6), Weir (4), Ritchie County and Oak Glen (2), and Ravenswood (1).

The girls championship plaque went to Oak Glen with 22 points while Ritchie County edged out East Fairmont (16) and Ravenswood (15), finishing with 17 points. The remainder of the field included Madonna (8), Wheeling Central (7), North Marion (4), Fairmont Senior and St. Marys (3), Braxton County (2) and Weir (1).

Earning a regional title was Ravenswood’s Taylor Youell. The Red Devils senior, who finished second in the regional a year ago, dominated Madonna’s Ali Welch in the No. 2 singles final, winning by an 8-1 score and then teamming up with Alex McNabb to defeat East Fairmont’s Catherine Boyles and Skyler Morgan by an 8-2 margin to take third at the No. 1 doubles.

“It feels good,” said Youell, who had to suffer through take a shot of cordisone in her elbow earlier in the week. “I’m not a big fan of shots, but it helped me play so I guess it was worth it.”

Other locals earning spots in the state tournament include the Rebels’ Haught (No. 2 singles), and Ravenswood’s Bess McNabb (No. 3 singles).