Hartley Roundup: Gia Green, Emily Thompson pull together on court during postseason
With little past experience playing doubles together, senior Gia Green and junior Emily Thompson of the Hartley girls tennis team found themselves lingering around the baseline for much of the Division II sectional tournament Oct. 8 and 10 at Columbus Academy.
That proved to be a successful combination for Green, who played first singles throughout her prep career, and Thompson, who spent most of this season at second singles.
After being unseeded heading into the postseason, they upset Bexley’s second-seeded team of Mia Ehrsam and Stefanie Lehman 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a quarterfinal to qualify for district.
Green and Thompson began district competition Oct. 15 at Academy against defending champions Alexis Burkhalter and Katie Zerbi of Wellington. The champion in singles and doubles advanced to the state tournament Friday, Oct. 23, and Saturday, Oct. 24, at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
“These two are singles players and haven’t played any doubles except for the very last match of the (regular) season,” coach Lynn Winters said. “They have so much fun, you can tell. Whenever they’re playing they’re just very relaxed and happy, enjoying it. They had a great match against (Ehrsam and Lehman). That was a tough match for them, but they stayed focused the entire time.
“I’m very proud of these girls. They’re back on the baseline a lot as singles players. Neither of them love the net, but they’re very quick and will both run up to the net. Their comfort zone is the baseline and they’ve done well. They didn’t have a whole lot of practice in doubles, but they’ve picked it up really well.”
Also competing in doubles at sectional was the team of seniors Joelea Kelley and Jackie Kirkland. The pair lost in a quarterfinal.
In singles, sophomore Kiarra McElrath lost in a quarterfinal and seniors Maria Kelley and Morgan Liden lost in the second round.
Green and Thompson lost to Academy’s Anna Chang and Yasemin Bilgin 6-0, 6-2 in a semifinal and then fell to Bexley’s Anna Brady and Ava Foster 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in the third-place match.
For Thompson, it has been enjoyable competing in doubles because there is “someone to talk to on the court.”
“I’ve been working at this for four years and for my senior year, I’m very excited to make it to district, especially with Emily,” Green said. “We’re very positive at Hartley. A lot of teams have told us we have very good sportsmanship and we just try to have a good time while we’re playing, even if we’re losing. If you’re mad, you’re probably going to lose, so you’ve got to stay happy.
“It was kind of shaky (playing doubles together) at first because we had no prior doubles experience. I hadn’t played doubles since I was 10, but when we got into a rhythm and started playing with each other, it was nice.”
Boys golf team
Of the boys golf team's five competitors in the Division II district tournament, two are eligible to return.
The Hawks shot 347 in a sectional Oct. 1 at Turnberry to place fifth of 14 teams behind champion Academy (310) as the top six advanced to district.
Then on Oct. 8 at Denison Golf Club, Hartley finished fourth (343) behind champion and state-qualifier Academy (305).
Juniors Cameron Casto and Drew Navarro both shot 82 to tie for 10th, while senior Dominic Rees was 16th (85). Seniors Colton Ramsey and Tyler Wood were the other two postseason competitors.
Casto led with an 82 at sectional for the Hawks, who finished fourth (2-6) in the CCL behind champion St. Charles (8-0).
Another eligible to return is junior Sam Shisler.
“They loved getting out and playing,” coach Shawn Wood said. “It was fun and they kept getting better and better. Sometimes the scores didn’t show up, but you could tell they were getting better. I thought we could have played a little better (at district), but we played well.
Girls golfers to lose
strong senior duo
The girls golf team’s top two players were seniors Nicole Deline, who averaged 40 for nine holes, and Caroline Berger, who averaged 46.
The Hawks, who finished first in the opening round of the CCL tournament and tied Watterson for second overall at 3-3 behind DeSales (5-1), placed seventh with a 400 in an 11-team Division I sectional Oct. 6 at Royal American behind champion Dublin Jerome (322).
Deline shot 83 to tie for seventh and earn the last of three district-qualifying spots, but she did not compete in the district tournament Oct. 13 at New Albany Links because of “personal reasons,” according to coach Kerry Ford.
Deline was a three-time district qualifier.
The other competitors at sectional were junior Nicola Eramo and sophomores Abby Murphy and Lauren Whitlatch.
Sophomore Olivia Brotherton and freshman Eva McKnight were others in the program.
“We had a great season for our third year,” Ford said. “Caroline Berger had a super season and was the leader of the program. Nicole Deline was consistent all year and was our anchor. The girls are developing and learning how to compete.”
•CCL standings: St. Charles (8-0), Watterson (6-2), DeSales (4-4), Hartley (2-6), Ready (0-8)
•Seniors lost: Nathan Bentivegna, Mason Casto, Colton Ramsey, Dominic Rees and Tyler Wood
•Key returnees: Cameron Casto, Drew Navarro and Sam Shisler
•Postseason: Fifth (347) at sectional behind Columbus Academy (310); fourth (343) at district behind champion Academy (305)
•CCL standings: DeSales (5-1), Hartley (3-3), Watterson (3-3), Ready (1-5)
•Seniors lost: Caroline Berger and Nicole Deline
•Key returnees: Nicola Eramo, Abby Murphy and Lauren Whitlatch
•Postseason: Seventh (400) at sectional behind champion Dublin Jerome (322)