BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FAIRFIELD – Junior Lanie Kuntz, playing at No. 6 singles was part of two conference championships at Fairfield Monday as the Hounds took 2nd place at the Southeast Conference girls tournament.
Kuntz routed Keokuk’s Kara Kavanaugh 8-1 and then found herself in a shootout with Fairfield’s Nellie Higdon that went to 8-8 tie forcing a first to 7 tiebreaker, that Kuntz won 7-2 for the No. 6 singles title and three points.
Kuntz then paired up with senior Mercedee Doty at No. 3 doubles. The duo knocked off Keokuk’s Haley Broadwell and Kavanaugh 8-3 and then edged Fairfield’s Higdon and Anna Beasley 8-6 for a Hound title and three more points.
Junior Larissa Ferrill, seeded No. 1 at No. 4 singles dispatched Mt. Pleasant’s Shalene Thiengmany 8-2 in round one then dumped Fairfield’s Hermela Gebremariam 8-6 in the title match to bring home another title for the Bloodhounds and three points in the tournament.
At No. 2 singles FMHS sophomore Miho Shirai disposed of Keokuk’s Daniela Lozano 8-2, but then went up against Fairfield’s Yana Gaskell and fell 8-1 in the title match for a runner-up two points.
Senior Kearstyn Johnson, who for a time was rated No. 1 in the state at No. 3 singles and was seeded No. 1 in the tourney, got past Mt. Pleasant’s Hallie Sandeen 8-2 and then fell to Cami Schaefer of Fairfield 8-4 for a runner-up two points.
Doty took another runner up two-points at No. 5 singles with an 8-3 win over Broadwell and then an 4-8 loss to Beasley in the title match.
At No. 1 singles, Katie Larson seeded No. 3 in the event, fell to Keokuk’s Jakala Hall 5-8 in the first round, but came back to beat Mt. Pleasant’s Quinn Whaley 8-3 for a one-point third-place finish.
The No. 1 doubles team of Larson and Shirai looked to be making a run for the title. Larson/Shirai were seeded No. 3 and banged into No. 1 Fairfield’s Annatta Charoenkul and Gebremarium in the first round. The Hounds rolled to an 8-2 upset but the found the wrong end of a 7-9 title match against Keokuk’s Hall and Lozano for a two-point runner up.
Johnson and Ferrill took out Keokuk’s Maddi Miller and Keliegh Hall 8-6. But Fairfield’s Gaskell and Schaeffer took the title 8-1 leaving the Hounds with another 2-point runner up finish.
FMHS ended the tourney with 20 points, just two points behind Fairfield for runner-up in the tournament, which was not lost on head coach Amy Doherty.
“I am so disappointed because there are spots where we should have won, but fell short,” Doherty said, “But at the same time there were a couple that I wasn’t sure about that came through and got us points where I didn’t necessarily expect them. ”
She said the No. 1 doubles win over Fairfield was where the Hounds could have picked up one point.
“The biggest one of those would have been Katie and Miho who almost easily defeated Charoenkul and Gebremariam. They then battled hard against Keokuk only falling 7-9. They have been their nemesis this whole season and they made it the closest they have up to this point.”
She said the No. 2 doubles had a tough fight against Fairfield’s duo.
“Larissa and Kearstyn battled back from a 0-5 deficit in #2 doubles but had a hard go against Fairfield’s number two,” she said.
“Lanie had a great day coming home with two medals, after a hard fought singles match and a high energy doubles match with Mercedee. Larissa also came back from a deficit to take home the gold in singles. Overall a good day, just not quite enough where it counted the most.”