Guyer’s Ron Rogers has been to the state tournament as a coach several times, but his current program has never been.
That’s about to change, as senior Alex Rodriguez and freshman Megan Poe qualified for the UIL state tournament in girls doubles after winning a do-or-die playback match against Fort Worth Brewer on Tuesday at the Class 4A Region I tournament at Abilene’s Rose Park Tennis Center.
After winning the third-place match Tuesday morning against Lubbock, the Guyer girls were placed in a playback match against Brewer, which lost in the championship match earlier in the day. The Brewer team of Katy Foster and Leah Munroe beat the Guyer duo at the District 5-4A tournament and looked well on its way to repeating the feat before Guyer made its charge.
Rodriguez and Poe lost the first set and trailed 4-3 in the second before coming back to win the match 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 and become the first Guyer tennis players to advance to the state tournament, which will be played April 29 and 30 at Austin’s Penick-Allison Tennis Center.
“They kept giving themselves opportunities,” Rogers said of his team. “It was a tough match. It was tons of nerves. It was a lot of easy balls both teams were missing. You put everything you’ve worked for all year into a few games, and it’s just tough on these kids.”
Now Rodriguez and Poe, who are 35-3 on the season as a team, will make school history.
“It’s unbelievable where Guyer started out tennis-wise to now, going to state,” Rogers said. “It is just an unbelievable feeling. The girls are super excited. It brings a lot of pride to the Guyer community.”
The Wildcats had another chance to get a doubles team to the state tournament, but second-seeded Kolos Urbanyi and Parker Metcalf lost in Tuesday’s final to No. 1 seed Amarillo. That put Guyer in a playback match against Aledo, and Guyer took the first set before falling 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
“We played well all year,” Rogers said of the boys duo that finished with a 32-4 record. “They’re great kids and worked their tails off. It breaks your heart that they just missed it by basically four points. They had some good opportunities, but those teams they lost to were no slouches. Aledo just played a little better than us. It came down to one break in each set, and we couldn’t break back [in the second or third sets].”
Denton had a chance to be represented at state in boys singles after Alex Clerihew, a senior, upset the second- and third-seeded players in the regional tournament in a surprising run Monday to qualify for Tuesday’s final. That’s where he met a familiar face, Wichita Falls’ Adam Dockery, the No. 1 seed who defeated Clerihew 6-0, 6-2 to notch his third win of the season over Clerihew.
That forced Clerihew into a playback match against Fort Worth Arlington Heights’ Zan Rive for a chance to go to the state tournament. Rive beat Clerihew 6-4, 6-4, and Clerihew’s high school career came to an end with a 29-8 record this year. He improved on his first-round exit from last year’s regional tournament.
“He had a great tournament,” Denton coach Carlos Blanco said. “The fact he wasn’t even seeded and upset two seeds and got into the final was huge. Dockery played very well and the other guy [Rive] was just on. He had everything going.”
Blanco said he was confident in his player but everything went right for the tall, powerful Rive.
“When you’re a power player and everything is going in, you’re hard to beat,” Blanco said. “He was just wailing everything. The majority of his first serves were in, and his forehands were hitting the lines.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.