By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
The Belton Tigers’ Tennis team played a tough District 12-6A Tournament at the Waco Regional Tennis Center in Waco on April 8.
Tara Donaho won the District 12-6A girls’ singles championship, defeating Mia Garza of Copperas Cove (6-0, 6-0), McKinley Dockall of Midway (6-0, 6-0) and Ericka Vallejo of Harker Heights (6-1, 6-1).
“I went into the meet not wanting to lose a set,” Donaho said. “Once I started playing, I didn’t even want to lose a game.”
Austin Hagen reached the finals of the boys’ singles finals with victories over Javier Martinez of Killeen (6-1, 2-6, 6-2) and Christian Manalang of Killeen Ellison (6-3, 5-7, 6-4), before bowing out to Madu Eneli of Harker Heights (6-1, 6-1). Gabe Linnemann lost to Eneli 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
“Eneli is one of the athletic players I’ve played against,” Hagen said. “He’s a tough opponent and I look forward to playing him again.”
Hagen, who played for the boys’ soccer team who advanced to regionals a couple of weeks ago, got the opportunity to appear in two springtime regionals.
Abigail Kendall and Lauren Phillips defeated the team of Arreagh/Nazario-Ovallek of Killeen (6-2, 6-0) and Sieber/White of Harker Heights (2-6, 6-2, 6-4) before falling in the finals to the pairing of Coley/Kutach of Midway 4-6, 7-6 (6) and 6-3 to finish second in the girls’ doubles bracket.
Trevor Reed and Caleb Cable made it to the finals of the boys’ doubles bracket with wins over Matthew Meadows and Xavier Garcia of Ellison (6-0, 6-1) and Cory Clark and Daniel Arterbury of Midway (6-3, 6-2) before falling to Logan Gwin and Harry Foster of Midway (6-0, 6-2). Reed and Cable won their playback match with Dominic Smith and Nicholas Fletcher of Copperas Cove 6-7 (6), 7-6 (2) and 6-0.
In the mixed doubles’ bracket Riley Wesson and Maya Perez made it to the semifinals with wins over the pairing of Gorman/Wagner of Copperas Cove (6-1, 6-4), Braxton-Johnson/Nairn of Ellison (6-1, 6-2). Wesson and Perez fell to Peevey/Marchesi of Midway (6-2, 6-2) before winning their playback match with the pairing of Haynes/Bourdon of Shoemaker (6-1, 6-1).
The team collected 11.5 points as a team, ranking them second behind Midway (14.5)
In regional play on Monday at WRTC, Donaho won the first match of the day 6-0, 6-0 over Julia Puch of Irving MacArthur. She was then matched up with Lilley Nice of The Woodlands. Donaho won the first set 6-4 before falling in the final two sets to Nice 5-7 and 4-6.
“I did well, although the finished wasn’t what I hoped for,” Donaho said. “But I learned a lot from the experience.”
Donaho will be in the USTA Texas’ Super Champs series this summer.
Hagen fought hard in his regional match, but lost to Peyton Drain from Tyler Lee 2-6, 6-7 (4-7).
Kendall/Phillips lost to Shafali Aramilla/Smrithi Mahadevan from Westwood 6-0, 6-4 in the girls’ doubles regionals.
Reed/Cable lost to a tough boys’ doubles draw of Mac McCough/Gardiner Perotti from Highland Park 6-0, 6-0.
“I am very pleased with how all the kids played,” Belton head coach James Stinson said. “We are playing in the toughest region in the state. A ton of seeds were upset in the boys’ doubles draw.”
The scheduling last fall of the North Texas, West Texas, Austin and Bryan-College Station really challenged the team. It led them to see different players, playing in different conditions and environments.
“It was a great experience and challenged our kids,” Stinson said. “I am putting together the schedule next fall. It won’t be an easy schedule with losing our graduating seniors.”