Gering doubles team makes school history with state win
     2013-05-23      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Sheila Weber/for the Citizen - Gering junior Katie Collins drew the No. 2 singles top seed in Elkhorn South senior Emily Fink, who blanked Collins 6-0, 6-0 on her way to winning all five of her matches while losing just three total games during the Class B Nebraska State Tennis Tournament. 
LINCOLN -- Gering's No. 1 girls' tennis doubles team of junior Savannah Walker and sophomore Samantha Gutherless set a goal for themselves at the beginning of the Bulldogs' inaugural season, one of historic proportions for the school's first-year tennis program.
After none of the Bulldog boys' entries in Gering's first Class B State Tournament was able to win a state match in October, Walker and Gutherless set their sights on scoring the first state tennis victory for Gering.

Thanks to a kind match-up against Alliance's tandem of juniors Caitlyn Tritle and Jordan Klinkerman, Walker and Gutherless beat their familiar foes 6-1, 7-5 on Thursday to earn a second-round berth.

"It was awesome the way we were seeded, so we had the opportunity to take a couple games," Gering coach Justin Reinmuth said of Walker and Gutherless, who had beaten Tritle and Klinkerman at least two times after the Alliance tandem won the teams' first match.

But another familiar tandem, McCook seniors Kaylee Samway and Kassidy Gillen, ended Walker and Gutherless' tournament with a 6-1, 6-1 victory that helped pave the Bison pair's road to a third-place finish.

Scottsbluff earned its two first-round victories, each coming in three sets, from three freshmen: No. 1 singles player Zoe Holscher and the No. 2 doubles team of freshmen Sarah Cloud and Stacea Pauli.
Holscher overcame a 4-6, first-set loss to down Waverly senior Elsa Gavilan-Sjoestrom 6-1 and 6-4 to make the second round.

Holscher, whose sister Maddie made the state quarterfinals as a senior last year, had her first state tourney ended by Omaha Brownell-Talbot sophomore Sadie Rich in another three-setter, 6-1, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4. Rich then lost her quarterfinal match to the eventual third-place finisher from Grand Island Central Catholic.

Cloud and Pauli overcame a 2-6 loss in the first set to down Omaha Brownell-Talbot senior Linda Liu and junior Emily Bergquist 6-0 and 6-3. Cloud and Pauli then lost 6-1, 6-0 to No. 1 seeds and eventual runners-up Morgan Stute and Shayla Conner of Kearney Catholic.
Gering junior Katie Collins drew the No. 2 singles top seed in Elkhorn South senior Emily Fink, who blanked Collins 6-0, 6-0 on her way to winning all five of her matches while losing just three total games.

Bulldog junior Marlee Lupher lost her No. 1 singles first-round match to Hastings sophomore Josie Propp, 6-4, 6-4. Propp then lost to the No. 1 singles top seed and eventual champion, Elkhorn South senior Hylan Miller.

Scottsbluff's No. 1 doubles team of juniors Akacia Kraus and Rachel Madden were placed in a play-in match against Beatrice junior Danielle Havekost and senior Marina Fentress and lost a tough three-setter, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. The Beatrice pair defeated a Hershey tandem before losing in the second round.

Bearcat freshman Christina Villarreal was blanked by McCook senior Allison Been 6-0, 6-0. Been then lost her second-round match.
Omaha Skutt Catholic won both doubles brackets and amassed 54 points in winning the team championship. Skutt's singles players both made the finals and lost to Elkhorn South, which finished second with 38 points.

Scottsbluff finished in a tie for 16th with six points, while Gering and Alliance tied for 18th with four points apiece.
Reinmuth said the Bulldogs' first taste of state tournament experience was fruitful and has interest building for next season.

"The experience was nice," Reinmuth said. "They have some really good athletes on that side of the state, and you're seeing kids who are going straight to Division I or Division II schools. I think it was a good look for us to see what the competition will be like."
"We had a meeting on Monday and we had 15 soon-to-be freshmen show interest and say that they are going to try it this summer and see if they want to go out next year," Reinmuth said."So we might have a good 20 to 23 kids to choose from next year, which would be awesome."

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