For the first time since 2007, the Pickerington High School Central girls tennis team will be represented in the Division I state tournament.
Juniors Isis Thomas and Kyah Thomas finished second in the district tournament Oct. 11 and 12 at Hilliard Davidson, going 3-1 and losing to Olentangy Orange's Alle Sanford and Anna Sanford 6-0, 6-2 in the final.
The Thomas sisters, who played singles during the regular season, qualified for state by defeating Upper Arlington's Beniva Ganther and Anna-Marie Reynolds 6-3, 7-5 in a quarterfinal. They opened by beating Davidson's Laura Hagy and Natalie Hagy 7-5, 6-1 in the first round, and advanced to the championship match by defeating New Albany's Alex Cash and Jane Haffer 6-0, 1-6, 6-4 in a semifinal.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advanced to state, which will take place Friday, Oct. 18, at Ohio State and Saturday, Oct. 19, at Davidson. In case of bad weather, the tournament will be played at Elysium Tennis Center near Plain City.
Central's previous state qualifiers came six years ago, when the doubles team of Jenny Hand and Colleen Luce advanced and lost in the first round.
"We were due, for sure," coach Kelli Rings said. "It seems like every year, we get to this point and go home without it. This was an excellent win (against Ganther and Reynolds). The girls kept their heads up. That was the fun part to see. They had to keep their composure in both matches (Oct. 11). I'm delighted that they got through, just delighted."
Central's other doubles team of freshman Maddie Bechert and senior Madi Schott lost in the first round 6-0, 6-0 to Upper Arlington's Audrey Berger and Kyra Jung.