Last Monday and Tuesday the Panther tennis team started their journey to state. The Panthers started their district tournament at Walnut Creek Country Club in Mansfield, Texas. All of the varsity players from every school in the district participated in the tournament. Overall the Panthers took first place in the boys and girls division for the first time in three years. The team took home first in four out of the five divisions at the tournament.
Senior Jocelle Rudico won her finals match against Mansfield 6-0, 6-0 in the girls singles draw and sophomore Gavin Beach won the boys singles draw with a final score of 6-2 6-1 against Mansfield’s number one boy. This will be Jocelle’s fourth straight trip to regionals as a singles player. This will be Gavin’s second trip to the regional tournament.
In the doubles divisions senior Selena Facundo and sophomore Daejia Lynch won a close finals match against Cedar Hill with a score of 6-3, 6-4. In the boys division the Panthers had to play each other. Seniors Cedric Ambulo and Weston Hill beat senior Eric Shimomura and sophomore Austin Gula 6-2, 6-3. Shimomura and Gula had to take on Mansfield in the playback for second place. The Panthers won a nail biter 6-4, 7-5 to make it to regionals.
The Panthers went on to regionals on Monday to see who could make it to state. The team got terrible draws after the seeding seemed a bit off according to many of the players that participated. Gavin Beach got one of the best players in the boy’s singles draw and lost 6-4, 5-7, 6-7 in a three hour match. Afterwards Beach said, “I can’t believe it.” In boys doubles Cedric Ambulo and Weston Hill got an unseeded team that should’ve been seeded, but they went down 6-1, 6-4 against El Paso Cornado.
In girl’s doubles senior Selena Facundo and sophomore Daejia Lynch took on another El Paso Cornado team and lost 6-1, 6-3. In girl’s singles Jocelle Rudico was the only person from the Panthers to make it past the first round. She beat a girl from El Paso Cornado first round in three sets. Next round she took on a girl from Flower Mound Marcus and she won in straight sets. In the semifinals she took on Kelly Anderson from Southlake Carroll. Jocelle lost 6-1, 6-4. Jocelle got the opportunity to play for third place and beat a girl from Richland High school. Since Kelly won the finals, Jocelle got to play in the playback for second place. Rudico took on Erin Walker from Abilene High and she lost in an extremely close three setter. Jocelle didn’t make it to state for the first time since her freshman year. She finished overall third in the region and this won’t be the last time that we’ll hear about the Air Force Academy commit.
The Panthers played an excellent year of tennis and they deserve congrats for their efforts.