Two singles players and a doubles team for the Hilliard Davidson High School girls tennis team are seeded in the top four for the Division I sectional tournament Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, at home, but coach Steve De Dent is quick to remind his players that being seeded doesn't guarantee success.
Emily Turner and Heather Haynes are seeded second and fourth, respectively, in singles and twin sisters Laura and Natalie Hagy are seeded second in doubles.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles from each sectional will advance to district Oct. 11 and 12 at Davidson.
Also competing at sectional for Davidson are Mary Carson in singles and the doubles team of Chloe Shevlin and Ella Wilson.
Last year, the same doubles teams advanced to district, where both lost in the first round.
"It's nice to be recognized on paper, but if seeds and ranking meant everything, you wouldn't bother playing the matches," De Dent said. "Our girls are in a good position to move on if they play well, but the bottom line is they need to keep the ball in play and win their matches to advance because no one is going to hand us anything."
Davidson, which was 14-5 overall before playing Worthington Kilbourne on Oct. 1, beat Pickerington North 5-0 on Sept. 26. The Wildcats then finished first (18 points) in the fourth-place OCC tournament Sept. 28 at Darby ahead of Pickerington North (15), Darby (11) and Big Walnut (6).
Turner (first singles), Haynes (second singles), Carson (third singles) and the Hagys (first doubles) each went 2-0 to place first. The Wildcats went 1-1 and finished third at second doubles, with Shevlin and Hillary Hunt losing the first match and Shevlin and Wilson winning the second.
"Sometimes when you aren't playing for first place, it can be hard to focus, but that wasn't a problem for our girls," De Dent said.
"We dominated the first four courts. We play in one of the toughest leagues (the OCC-Central Division) in the state, and playing teams like Upper Arlington, Dublin Coffman and Olentangy Liberty made us better and has prepared us to play our best tennis at the end of the year."
Panthers ready for Davidson sectional
Darby will compete in the Division I sectional at Davidson.
Abigail Greene, Deepthi Nacharaju and Jinsoo Lee are playing singles, with Sydney Bright and Hannah Lee forming one doubles team and Abby Schuster and Mikino Madea comprising the other.
The Panthers did not have any district qualifiers last season.
Darby lost to Bexley 4-1 on Sept. 18 and Marysville 4-1 on Sept. 30 to finish 6-9 overall.
In the fourth-place OCC tournament, Schuster (first singles) and Nacharaju and Abigail Niehaus (second doubles) each went 1-1 to place second, and Madea (second singles) and Bright and Lee (first doubles) each went 1-1 to place third.
Jaguars also lack district experience
Bradley also will compete in the Division I sectional at Davidson.
Amaray Denney, Taylor Ruby and Haley Jackson are playing singles, with Hannah Saleh and Eryn Henderson making up one doubles team and Bailey Decker and Kristina Slyh comprising the other.
None of aforementioned players has district experience.
The Jaguars, who finished 6-11 overall, placed second (14) in the fifth-place OCC tournament Sept. 21 at Bradley, behind Thomas Worthington (17) and ahead of Lancaster (13) and Kilbourne (6).