Riders Claim 2nd At WBL Tournament

St. Marys' Kara Danaher watches the ball as it flies toward her racket in a doubles match at the WBL tennis tournament.
Sports Editor

Since they won the Western Buckeye League title in 2000, the St. Marys Roughriders girls tennis team ends the 2017 regular season and tournament portion of their schedule with the best finish since that league championship year.

The Roughriders finished as runners-up in the league standings (8-1) and grabbed 42 out of a possible 60 points for second place after two-day of the WBL Tournament on Saturday at the University of Northwest Ohio campus.

St. Marys finished second to WBL champion Shawnee — breaking a four-year title win streak held by Wapakoneta — but had first singles player Clare Caywood and second singles player Jillian Wine both finish second place in their respected positions.

Jennifer Brown took third at third singles, while the Roughiders’ first duo of Allie Vanderhorst and Kara Danaher claimed third as well at first doubles.

St. Marys’ second doubles team of Grace Dicke and Bailey Lininger came in fourth place.

But the success at this weekend’s tournament began at the start of a successful season.

The Roughriders finished second as a team at the Schroeder Invitational and then jumped into league play against four-time running WBL champion Wapakoneta — a team riding a 32-game WBL win streak — and defeated the Redskins.

St. Marys won five of its next six before taking down Celina for the first time since 2003.

The Roughriders also beat Lima Central Catholic when the Thunderbirds were undefeated prior to St. Marys beating them at the tail end of the regular season.

Aside from her second-place finish at first singles for a second straight season, Caywood also earned the Sportmanship Award. Caywood defeated Bath’s Esther Bolon, 6-2, 6-3 before falling to Shawnee’s Alutus Wei, 3-6, 6-4 6-0.

The junior — vying for the most wins by a tennis player in program history — will enter the Division II sectional tournament on Thursday with a 16-4 record.

Caywood has 49 career wins and trails Tara Smith by 24 victories for most all-time.

The biggest surprise for Krugh was the play of Wine.

The senior — seeded fifth in the tourney — finished second with a win against Wapakoneta’s Madison Schroeder — the bracket’s No. 1 seed — 6-0, 6-4, before falling to Shawnee’s Aria Patel, 6-2, 6-2. She has a 13-7 record heading into Thursday’s postseason.

Brown finished third. She lost to Shawnee’s Kumi Ojo, 6-1, 6-2, but rebounded to defeat Wapakoneta’s Lauren Snider, 6-2, 7-5. Brown’s record is 14-4.

Vanderhorst and Danaher lost their opening match on Saturday to Celina’s Allie Lehman and Christina Harting, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, but rebounded to defeat Van Wert’s Olivia Kline and Paige Moonshower, 6-1, 6-1. The Roughriders’ duo are 13-7.

Dicke and Lininger fell to Shawnee’s Marley Evans and Ella Athkinson, 6-3, 6-3 and lost to Celina’s Lexi Noll and Skye Grube, 6-3, 6-0 for fourth place. St. Marys’ second doubles team enters sectionals with a sensational 16-4 mark.

For the full story, see Monday's print edition of The Evening Leader.