The Leavenworth tennis doubles team of Alexis Cole and Samantha Casmus are returning to the state tournament this weekend.
After a 20-4 record this season, the girls will play in the tournament again this Friday and Saturday.
Cole said it felt like a big step up to qualify for state again.
“I have played tennis for three years,” Cole said. “Every year my partner and I have qualified for state. Sam and I have been for the last two years. I say it was a step up for us because we moved into 6A this year. Last year we won regionals (in 5A). So it was pretty difficult for us that we couldn’t have won it again this year, but we only had one school ranked above us (at regionals) in Shawnee Mission East. I’m very proud where we are.”
Casmus said she expected to make it back with Cole.
“(Qualifying again) felt pretty good,” Casmus said. “I kind of expected it. I expected to do good. So I did not feel anything in particular.”
Cole said she expected the competition to get tougher with Leavenworth jumping back up to 6A right before regionals, especially due to the size of the 6A schools.
“We played way bigger schools,” Casmus said. “We had a lot more competition.”
“Shawnee Mission East has like 100-somethings girls out for tennis,” Cole said. “We have 15 maybe. So that’s a huge difference when you have such a wide variety of girls to pick from.”
Leavenworth tennis coach Shad Langfoss said it was a great feeling for two of his players to qualify.
“It’s a great feeling,” Langfoss said. “Last year they won their regional. They are a good doubles team and this year they are that much better. I know going to a 6A regional against the Shawnee Missions, Lawrence and Olathe, they really impressed me and a lot of the coaches there. I was hearing coaches say this is a team they don’t want to have to go up against… they like to have a good time.”
Langfoss said it was hard to tell how regionals would have gone for the girls if they had stayed at 5A.
He still thinks they would have qualified but he doesn’t know how they would have finished in regionals.
He said they probably would have been in the same regional as Lansing, which he had praised for the strong doubles teams from Manhattan and the Salina schools.
In comparing 5A and 6A tennis, Langfoss said they are about equal, but he mentioned one of the Blue Valley schools has one of the most dominant tennis teams he’s ever seen and will be tough.
The state tournament will be the last time that Cole competes in tennis for Leavenworth.
The senior still plans to play tennis for the rest of her life but will pursue her soccer career instead in college.
Casmus is only a sophomore so she will be back next year.
Langfoss said he is looking for a new partner to replace Cole that can match Casmus’ level of play.
The 6A state tournament will take place Friday and Saturday at the Olathe-College Boulevard Activity Center.
Friday matches start at 10:30 a.m. The Saturday matches will begin at 9 a.m.