Knights take top honors in singles and doubles competition

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By Jessica Veatch and Josh Veatch

The Marion County Knights tennis team was able to come away with top honors in both singles and doubles competition at the regional tournament last week.  Freshman Alex Spalding claimed the singles crown, while the duo of senior Noah Swencki and junior Jacob Burdette took the top spot in doubles action.
In the regional tournament, during singles competition, Alex Spalding received a first round bye before playing Cody Hughes of North Hardin in the second round and winning 6-0, 6-0. In the quarterfinals, Spalding beat Elizabethtown's Hassan Haider 6-3, 6-4, and then went on to defeat Bardstown's Clayton Brooks (4) in the semifinals. Spalding defeated Elizabethtown's Reza Haider (2) in the finals 7-6 (8-6), 6-4 to take the singles title. Alex Spalding did not drop a set in the regular season or the regional tournament.
Also in singles action, Durbin Richardson won his round one match against Bardstown's Austin Chaney 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), but fell to Tad Skaggs (3) of Central Hardin in the second round 1-6, 2-6.
In doubles action, the defending regional doubles champion pair of Noah Swencki and Jacob Burdette had a first round bye before defeating Adair County's Keen/Roberts 6-0, 6-0 in the second round. In the quarterfinals, the team defeated Crain/Davis (5) of Elizabethtown 6-1, 6-2 and then took the semifinal match over North Hardin's Marcus/Shufelt 6-1, 6-1. In the championship match, Swencki/Burdette beat Elizabethtown's Ahmed/Bhatti (1) 6-7 (5-8), 6-4, 6-1 to win the regional doubles championship.
In other doubles competition, the team of Ryker Cassidy and Michael Spalding won their first round match over the Fort Knox pair of Roberts/Stokes 6-4, 6-2. The duo then won their second round match over Thompson/Stallings of Nelson County 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, before falling to Elizabethtown's Bhatti/Ahmed (1) in the quarterfinals 1-6, 0-6.
According to Head Coach Landon Williams, the regional tournament was awfully kind to the team this year.
"A number of things had to go our way in order for us to win, and everything did," he said. "You win a point for each round and we were down one to Elizabethtown overall going into the final day. We had big wins early from the second seeds in singles and doubles, and big wins late from our top seeds. It took every point we earned to edge Elizabethtown who earned 12 points to our 13. Central Hardin also had a great showing and these teams will be tough again next season."
Recently in sectionals, Marion County fell to Louisville Trinity. In singles matches, Alex Spalding lost to Tanner Love 3-6, 3-6. Noah Swencki fell to Tommy Roggerio 4-6, 3-2, and Jacob Burdette fell to Austin Strauss 3-6, 3-4.
In doubles matches, Ryker Cassidy and Michael Spalding fell to Emerson Walsh/Randy Strauss 0-6, 0-6. Durbin Richardson and Jonah Gillespie lost to Michael Link/Zach Baker 1-6, 3-6.
According to Williams, the Knights finished the team component of the season to a team that was just a little better than them.
"All of the singles matches were very competitive and great for spectators," he said. "We learned at sectional play and when you're playing people on that level you can learn very quickly what needs to improve by next season. St. X was a great host with an impressive complex."
State competition for players who qualified was determined at Monday's seed meeting. Tournament play will commence tomorrow and run through Saturday.