By William for

            BUHLER – The 2022 sports season has arrived and the first to hit the schedule was the McPherson High junior varsity tennis team as they finished fourth overall in Buhler Junior Varsity Invitational on Tuesday.

            Valley Center took first with 26 points while host Buhler and Goddard tied for second with 21 points, just one point ahead of the young junior varsity Lady Bullpups. Other teams in the mix were Smoky Valley (5th place), Salina Central (6th place), Pratt (7th place), and Circle (8th place).

            “We were able to get out to Buhler for our first tournament of the year,” noted Lady Bullpup junior varsity coach Ricardo Sanchez. “We were able to play well in the heat and had several girls battle through several matches where the heat was affecting them, but they never gave in and battled through.”

            The highlight for the day for McPherson came from the two-freshman making their high school tennis debuts as Avery Eveland and Erin Olson combined to go 3-0 for the day and win the number one doubles competition.

            Speaking of his two freshmen, coach Sanchez said, “Avery (Eveland) and Erin (Olson) played some great tennis to go undefeated to start off their high school careers. They became more confident in their baseline games and started attacking the ball more. They will continue to improve as they learn to move more even and more around the net.”

            Juniors Jordan Martens and Jadin Nowell both went 2-1 and finished third in number one and two singles, respectively.
            “Our two juniors anchored the team in singles today,” explained Sanchez. “Jadin (Nowell) worked on knowing what types of shots to go for during a rally throughout the day and I know she is disappointed in her play in the semi-finals, but she was able to make adjustments in the third-place match to stay consistent enough to earn opportunities to be aggressive. Jordan (Martens) found herself in a tight semi-final match that didn’t go her way, but she remained coachable and made some adjustments to fight through the tough match.”

            The other pair of freshmen making their debut at the high school level, Abilene Frye and Adylaide Croker, went 1-2 on the day to finish sixth in number two doubles.

            “Abilene (Frye) and Adylaide (Croker) fought back in a tight first match but couldn’t quite complete the comeback,” pointed out Sanchez. “After winning their next match in the consolation bracket, they again battled hard in the 5th/6th place match.”

            Coach Sanchez concluded his post-meet reflections by saying, “We talked about how competing in tournaments is the best way to learn and grow as a player, and they showed a lot of growth within this one tournament. Overall, a great outing for the team and we look forward to seeing this group grow throughout the season.”

(William is a free-lance writer covering McPherson County Activities – he can be reached at