CNHI News Service
David Bush, a driving force as Rose Hill Christian’s boys advanced to the state team tennis semifinals, and six All-State selections give the 2013 All-Area Tennis Team major firepower.
Bush, a junior, won his fourth consecutive 16th Region singles title to help lead the Royals to their first regional team title. He earned a No. 5 seed for the State Tournament and reached the Round of 16 in Lexington.
At the Section 4 team tournament in Ashland, Bush and senior teammate Mitch Reynolds each won two singles matches as Rose Hill defeated Corbin and Lawrence County to make it to the state’s Final Four. Lone Oak defeated the Royals in the semifinals.
Bush and Fairview senior Kennedy Womack were again selected All-Area Players of the Year by The Independent.
Boys coaching honors went to Rowan County’s Mark Kidd. Russell’s Larra Ferguson and Rose Hill Christian’s Kimberly Bush shared the girls’ award. Russell edged Rose Hill by one point for the 16th Region team crown.
Womack, the 2012 state runner-up in singles, posted her third region singles title and entered her final State Tournament as the top seed. The Morehead State signee made it to the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Madeline Rolph of Lexington Sayre.
Area players receiving All-State honors following the singles and doubles tournament included Womack, two doubles teams — Rose Hill’s Alex Billups and Leslie Stringer, and Russell’s Kierstin Hensley and Maci Ferguson — along with Lawrence County’s Jacob Estep.
Both doubles teams performed up to their top four seeds by winning four matches on the University of Kentucky courts.
Ferguson, a seventh-grader, was the youngest player to reach the doubles semifinals. She and Hensley, a freshman, won a third-set tiebreaker in the Round of 16 and followed up by beating a No. 5 seed in straight sets.
The young Russell duo entered the State Tournament with momentum after beating Billups and Stringer in the region finals.
Rose Hill’s two seniors, voted co-players of the year by area coaches prior to the region tournament, capped their successful careers by making another strong run at the State Tournament. They defeated seeded teams from Lexington Christian and Lone Oak in the Round of 16 and quarterfinals.
Lawrence County’s Estep, a senior, was 15th Region singles champion as the Bulldogs captured another team title. Estep put together a long winning streak, including two victories at the section level, before losing to a No. 5 seed at the State Tournament.
Rose Hill senior doubles partners Reynolds and Zach Jones won their first 16th Region final with the team championship on the line. They went on to reach the second round at state.
Boys region team runner-up Ashland had four All-Area players. Robby Berry was region singles runner-up and reached the state’s Round of 16. Doubles partners Wesley Daniel and Robby Krick finished second in the region, while Alex Newmark was a doubles semifinalist.
Lawrence County’s Cole McCreary, a 15th Region doubles champ, made it to the second round in Lexington.
Russell’s Alex Nguyen and Matthew Eastham were region semifinalists in doubles, with Eastham picking up another win in the first round at UK.
Other boys’ picks included Raceland’s Chase Waddell, Russell’s Chandler Nguyen, Rowan County’s Jon Lacy and Johnson Central’s Logan Fields.
On the girls’ side, Rose Hill led with four selections. Doubles teammates Rachel Bush and Madison Lett joined Billups and Stringer. Bush (junior) and Lett (freshman) won their first two matches at the State Tournament before falling to the top seeds.
Ashland freshman Lauren Fazenbaker was region singles runner-up for the third year in a row. Fazenbaker and Greenup County sixth-grader Madison Hill, a region semifinalist, got to the second round at state.
Hill’s teammate, freshman Micah Leslie, also reached the region semifinals in singles. Leslie’s younger sister, Brooklyn, the top player at Raceland, joined her on the All-Area squad.
Russell had three players chosen. Hunter Nguyen, a region doubles semifinalist, joined Hensley and Ferguson.
Ali Dotson and Abby Haynes represent 15th Region team champion Lawrence County, while Johnson Central placed Mikayla Estepp.