For the Cumberland Times-News
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Keyser’s Megan Freeburn and Kari Amtower headed to Charleston as undefeated region tennis champions.
They returned with a new title: undefeated state tennis champions.
Freeburn and Amtower didn’t just win at the state tournament, they dominated play in capturing the No. 3 doubles crown, dropping only five games in the semifinals and championship matches. They rolled past Bluefield’s Sarah Brady and Brooke Cundiff 6-1, 6-0 in the semifinals, then beat Oak Glen’s Lauren Pizzurro and Madison Hill in the final, 6-1, 6-3.
Freeburn and Amtower were the only girls from Region II to win in the finals.
“What was really great about this final was that Megan and Kari kept pressure on the Oak Glen team from start to finish. When one person made an error, the other player would get the point back. They really played great tennis,” said assistant coach Caitlin Dorsey.
Also undefeated in No. 4 singles, Amtower was victorious over an undefeated Region III champ, Clair Bailey of Bluefield, winning 6-2, 7-5 in the semifinals, in a match that was moved indoors because of rain with Amtower up 4-1 in the second set. Bailey won four straight games to take a 5-4 lead, but Amtower regrouped and took the next three in a row to close out the match.
Oak Glen’s Madison Juszczak beat Amtower, who was battling sinus issues, in the No. 4 final, 6-3, 6-1.
“Kari’s endurance was compromised during this final, but Juszczak is a top quality player. We will never know the what the outcome could have been if that didn’t happen. It was still a good match with two players fighting for each point. Many of the rallies lasted anywhere from 15 to 20 plus hits,” said head coach Richard Amtower.
Keyser’s No. 2 doubles team of Cecil Burner and Carolina Rascon beat St. Joe’s Beth Sutfin and Lauren Breece 8-6 to get to the semifinals, where they lost to eventual champions Bailey Molly Lovern of Bluefield 6-4, 6-1.
Burner also competed in No. 3 singles, but lost to eventual champion Danielle Sadd of Charleston Catholic in the quarterfinals, 8-3.
“No doubt our girls went to Charleston to play and I am really proud of all of them. Having two positions play in the finals was a first for me as a coach,’’ said Amtower. “Kari and Megan really just dominated. We had such a great season and to end it with state champs, a runner-up, and an overall sixth place is extraordinary. The girls have worked hard and should be very proud.”
Charleston Catholic won the team championship with 16 points, and was followed by Ravenswood with eight points, Bridgeport and Ritchie County with seven, Oak Glen with six and Bluefield and Keyser with four. Grafton, Petersburg, Poca an Wheeling Central had two and East Fairmont, Independence and St. Joe had one.