From staff reports
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — MIDLAND — Traverse City Central is standing atop the girls tennis regional once again.
Behind Paige Cooley’s championship at No. 1 singles and three doubles regional champs, the Trojans captured a second straight regional crown — and their 23rd overall — in action on Thursday at the Midland Community Center.
Cooley (33-3) led the effort of the singles players, while the No. 1 doubles team of Elizabeth Pappas and Amelia Pezzetti (29-6), the No. 2 doubles team of Devin Dotterrer and Abby Palisin (32-3) and the third doubles team of Isabel Lutz and Molly Whiting (31-4) also won titles.
“There was a lot of pressure, especially when they got to the finals against Dow,” said Central coach Larry Nykerk. “They handled it well. They stepped up to the plate. They got pushed a lot. When you look at those scores in doubles, the first set was tight and the second set (we) pulled away. I was proud of that. I’m very pleased and happy.”
Central had 27 points to place first. Midland Dow was second. Dow and Central came into the regional as the two top ranked teams of the 10 who competed. While Dow was battling injuries to some of its top players, Central had five girls who were struggling with illnesses.
“Neither of us were at full tilt,” said Nykerk.
Cooley posted a 6-0, 6-0 win over TC West, a 6-1, 6-0 win over Flint Carman-Ainsworth and beat Grand Ledge 6-1, 6-4. In the second game of the championship match Cooley battled back to take the last five games and complete her victory.
Pappas and Pezzetti beat Grand Ledge 6-2, 6-0, Saginaw Heritage 6-0, 6-0 and Midland Dow 6-2, 6-7, 6-1.
Lutz and Whiting defeated Holt 6-0, 6-0, Carman-Ainsworth 6-0, 6-1 and Dow 6-4, 6-1.
Dotterrer and Palisin beat West 6-0, 6-0, Grand Ledge 6-2, 6-0 and Dow 7-6, 6-0.
Kitty Mast (28-7) was one of three runners-up for Central along with Christy Druskovich and Taylor Weckstein. Mast beat Holt 6-0, 6-2, Grand Blanc 6-3, 6-2 and lost to Dow 0-6, 1-6.
Druskovich (31-5) beat Heritage 6-1, 6-0, Grand Blanc 6-2, 6-1 and lost to Dow 2-6, 5-7.
Weckstein beat Holt 6-0, 6-0, Grand Blanc 6-0, 6-0 and lost to Dow 4-6, 6-4, 2-6.
The Trojans’ other flight was at No. 4 doubles where Caroline Gardner and Aleksa Szunko beat Midland 6-0, 6-0 and lost to Grand Blanc in the semifinals 6-3, 3-6, 4-6.
Traverse City West finished sixth overall with six points, with their wins all coming in the first round — Sierra Falconer, Morgan Harris and Emma Bixby in singles, and Paxton Ellul/Grace Ellul, Allie Richey/Kit Hornbogen and Morgan Culp/Elizabeth Anton in doubles.
The Big North Conference championships at Monday in Cadillac.