ANN ARBOR — Traverse City Central came the closest its come to winning the Ann Arbor Invitational since 2006.
The Trojans have been regulars in the tourney that routinely features many of the state’s top-10 ranked Division 1 teams, and were leading this year’s event for quite awhile Saturday.
“This is the most competitive we’ve been in the Ann Arbor tournament since 2006,” Central coach Larry Nykerk said. “We were leading it pretty late on.”
Like 2006 — the only time Central has won the invitational — the Trojans also had the victor at No. 1 singles. Back then, it was Erin Chadwell. This time, it’s Paige Cooley.
Cooley started the tourney with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Farmington Hills Mercy, then knocked off last year’s state runner up, Clarkston’s Lexi Bayliss, 6-3, 6-2. Bayliss has already accepted a scholarship to play at Michigan State, and was one of only two players to defeat Cooley last year.
She then defeated Port Huron Northern’s Allie Sweeney — who was seeded No. 6 in last year’s state finals — by a 6-2, 6-3 score.
“With this day, I can see Paige getting a top-three seed (at states),” Nykerk said.
Clarkston and Midland Down tied atop the tournament with 21 points, followed by Port Huron Northern (20), TC Central (19.5) and Ann Arbor Huron (13) — all five of whom are ranked in the top 10. Central is No. 7 in the last rankings.
Kristi Druskovich was 2-1 at No. 3 singles to finish second, as was the No. 3 doubles flight of Isabel Lutz and Molly Whiting.
Taylor Weckstein at No. 4 singles and Devon Dotterrer and Abby Palisin at No. 2 doubles were 2-1 and placed third. The No. 1 doubles team of Elizabeth Pappas and Amelia Pezzetti were also 2-1, but were only able to place fifth after losing in the first round.
The Trojans keep up their busy road schedule, traveling to the Saginaw Invitational today and heading Tuesday to Alpena.