KALAMAZOO — Traverse City St. Francis recorded its best finish at a girls tennis state finals after the Gladiators took third in Division 4 action at Kalamazoo College.
St. Francis hinged its hopes on two singles players and one doubles team after all three flights advanced out of the first day's action.
No. 4 singles Lauren Hansen was the lone St. Francis player to win a match on Saturday as she defeated the No. 2 seed from Grosse Ile 6-4, 7-6 before losing to the No. 1 seed from Acadmey of the Sacred Heart 7-5, 6-4.
No. 1 singles player Amanda Bandrowski was eliminated by the top-seeded player from Kalamazoo Hackett 6-0, 6-0, while the No. 3 doubles team of Sarah Stayman and Rosie Wilson were ousted 6-0, 6-0.
The third-place finish was a monumental accomplishment, according to St. Francis coach Jeff Hughes.
"Our goal was to be fifth and that was a lofty goal," said Hughes. "To break into the top five was a huge, huge step for our program."
Academy of the Sacred Heart ended up repeating as state champs.
Traverse City Central was in fifth place after one day of action at the girls tennis state finals and ended up sixth overall following the second day of play.
Central had two players still going on Saturday's final day and both were eliminated in the semifinal round. At No. 1 singles Paige Cooley lost to eventual state champion Mary Hanna 6-0, 6-3. At No. 4 singles Taylor Weckstein fell 7-6, 6-3 to her opponent from Farmington Hills Mercy.
Port Huron Northern won the state title with 23 points and Farmington Hills Mercy was second with 22. Clarkston and Grosse Pointe South tied for third with 20 points each. TC Central ended its run with 13 points.
"I was delighted with the way the kids performed," said Central head coach Larry Nykerk. "They put out their best effort. I'm proud of them all."