Oct. 9—The Carl Junction girls tennis team claimed its first district title since 2014 on Friday afternoon in Joplin.
The second-seeded Bulldogs (8-9) knocked off top-seeded Willard 5-4 in the Class 2 District 6 championship match.
"I'm so happy for these girls," Carl Junction coach Ben Coltharp said. "They've worked so hard this season and that hard work is showing."
Carl Junction will play at Grain Valley in a sectional matchup on Monday.
In singles, Jenna Besperat defeated Willard's Kristen Flynn 6-4, 6-3 at No. 2 and Nicole Sherwood beat Gracie Chubb 3-6, 6-4, 10-6 at No. 3. The Bulldogs' Alyssa Graves topped Evie Sly 4-6, 6-4, 10-6 at No. 5, while Isabel Read beat Madeline Sams 6-2, 6-2 at No. 6.
The Bulldogs clinched the match when Besperat-Sherwood, who are headed to state in doubles, defeated Alyssa Flynn-Sams 8-1 at No. 2.
"With doubles teams, you want to have that chemistry between the partners," Coltharp said. "Jenna and Nicole gel and work so well together. You can how much they've improved from match-to-match."
In the other matches against Willard, Carl Junction's Naiyah Wurdeman fell 2-6, 2-6 to Alice Go at No. 1 singles while Emmy Higgins lost 1-6, 2-6 to Alyssa Flynn at No. 4.
Wurdeman-Higgins lost to Go-Chubb 2-8 at No. 1 doubles, and Graves-Read fell to Alyssa Flynn-Sly 4-8 at No. 3.
Just a freshman, Wurdeman will compete for the Bulldogs individually at state.
"Being a freshman at the No. 1 spot is a huge ask of her," Coltharp said. "She's handled it tremendously. She routinely plays girls 2-3 years older than her and handles herself well. I'm excited to see how she does at state."