Fittingly, Preston Freeman left the Ashland Tennis Center Saturday afternoon and headed out of town to compete in a club soccer tournament after winning his second consecutive 16th Region singles championship.

Freeman and Malloy twins Brett and Cole played major roles as the Tomcats captured regional titles in both sports for the second year in a row. The soccer teams went on to reach the state’s Final Four and Elite Eight.

Shortly after Freeman finished off Greenup County’s Stefan Golombek 6-0, 6-4, the Malloys repeated as doubles champions with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Russell’s Alan Sparkman and Anuwat Yodhong.

“It’s pretty amazing what those guys have done,’’ said Ashland coach Eddie Sizemore. “They are definitely athletes and competitors.’’

Ashland’s boys and Russell’s girls closed out their sixth consecutive regional team titles in grand fashion.

Russell sophomore Jessica Wise extended her streak of regional singles crowns to four. A day earlier, Claire Spradlin and Monica Vermani won an all-Russell doubles final.

“It’s wonderful,’’ coach Melissa Epling said of Russell’s latest showing. “I feel like this group is growing up with me. We have a bunch of young kids that are all getting better. We just lose one senior (Paige Muncy).’’

The Red Devils finished with 14 points, five more than Ashland and Boyd County. Ashland won a tiebreaker for the runner-up trophy.

Ashland’s boys racked up 16 points, while Russell edged Raceland 7-6 for second place.

“One of our goals was to win the region again, and the other is a high finish at the State Tournament,’’ Sizemore said.

The Tomcats placed eighth in Lexington in 2004 and fourth last year, when senior Kyle Virgin reached the singles finals.

“After losing a player like Kyle, to go back and get another high finish would be a great accomplishment,’’ Sizemore said.

The State Tournament is only four days away, with a seeding meeting scheduled for Monday night.

Freeman, a junior, came out strong and dominated the first set against Golombek, an exchange student from Germany. Golombek regrouped and led 2-1 and 3-2 in the second set before Freeman won back-to-back games.

“I started playing too aggressively in the second set and lost a few games,’’ Freeman said. “He (Golombek) is consistent and keeps the ball in play. He doesn’t have that many weaknesses.’’

Freeman left after the tournament to join his West Virginia Premier soccer team in Beckley.

The Malloys delivered in doubles with a performance that Brett called decently consistent.

“We didn’t play our best, but they are a good team and will do well at state,’’ Brett said of Sparkman and Yodhong, who defeated Ashland’s Tyler Reliford and Jeff Nelson in the semifinals. “The way they played against Tyler and Jeff, if they played like that against us it would have been a lot closer.’’

Ashland’s regional tournament championship came on the heels of an outstanding regular season. The Tomcats started 14-0, including notable outside wins over Covington Catholic, Richmond Model, Bourbon County and Ironton, before dropping two matches after a seven-hour bus trip to Paducah.

“We’ve had a real good year with a lot of quality wins,’’ Sizemore said.

Russell’s Jessica Wise, a state quarterfinalist the past two seasons, warmed up for her return trip with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Boyd County freshman Brooke Helms.

“I didn’t play as well as I wanted to,’’ Wise said. “Some points I was focused, others unfocused. Really, it was a closer match than the score looked. So many of the games went to deuce or 40-30. Brooke is a good player.’’

Helms, who turned 15 on Friday, won regional doubles titles the past two years.

Wise has won four consecutive regional singles championships after a runner-up finish as a sixth-grader.

“It’s nice,’’ she said. “Hopefully I will have two more.’’

Russell received permission to play the doubles final on Friday. Some of the players had other commitments Saturday.

Spradlin and Vermani, the top-seeded team, defeated younger teammates Andrea Wise and Kennedy Womack 6-4, 6-1 at Russell High School. Womack is seeded among the top 10 players this weekend at a national 12-under tournament in Georgia.

“The last time we played Andrea and Kennedy was in the Pre-Region Tournament (this spring), and they beat us in three sets,’’ Spradlin said. “We played better this time. We needed to win that.’’

With the first set tied 4-4, Vermani was down 0-40 on her serve but battled back with Spradlin to win a long game. Their momentum carried into the second set.

“We started moving our feet more and tried not to overhit,’’ said Vermani, a junior. “We stopped making mistakes and Claire was phenomenal at the net.’’

Vermani, who was regional runner-up with Spradlin last year, had extra motivation to win the championship. Her brother Sam won a regional doubles title in 2003 with Ian Sparkman. Sam, now attending the University of Louisville, was courtside Friday to root for his sister.

“He was my biggest cheerleader,’’ Monica said. “It’s kind of cool to live up to him.’’

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.

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