Williams advances to state tournament
PELLA — Fairfield’s Karley Williams placed first in a Class 1A singles and doubles tennis regional Thursday at Pella Christian, earning a berth in the state tournament May 30-31.
The fourth-seeded Williams won every set she played and lost only 17 games on the day. The sophomore upset both the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds on her way to the regional singles title.
Her opponents weren’t the only ones surprised by the outcome.
“I really didn’t expect anyone to make it to the state tournament,” admitted Fairfield head coach Heidi Grunwald. “I knew that Karley would do well, but I didn’t think after her only playing tennis for the second year that she would be state-bound.”
Williams opened the day with a 6-0, 6-1 win against Emily McRoberts of Chariton, and in what would be her closest match of the day, got by Pella Christian’s Claire VanWeelden by scores of 7-5 and 6-3.
In the semifinals, the Trojan sophomore ousted top-seeded Morgan Ernst of Pella 6-4, 6-2 to earn a spot at the state tournament before rolling past second-seeded Makenzie Richmond of Centerville 6-2, 6-0 in the finals match.
“She played very well yesterday, and she continued to fight and fight,” said Grunwald. “I am very excited for Karley to go to the state tournament, and I hope she does well there also.”
The state tournament will take place at the Ankeny Tennis Complex in Ankeny.
Also Thursday, Fairfield’s senior doubles team Haylee Gilpin and Kim O’Carroll finished fourth in the region’s doubles with a pair of victories.
Seeded No. 4, Gilpin and O’Carroll won the first two matches in straight sets, topping Oskaloosa’s Abbie Meyer and Zoe Kminek 6-1, 6-0 and Pella’s Sami Wassenger and Molly Kalkwarf 6-1, 6-1. They lost 6-1, 6-4 to Pella Christian’s Paige Engbers and Veronica Francis in the semifinals and fell 6-3, 6-3 to Albia’s Lauren Williams and Brooke Bettis in their final match of the day.
Senior Rachel Hathaway’s season ended with a 6-2, 6-1 straight-sets loss to Centerville’s Richmond, the tournament’s eventual second-place finisher. Senior teammates Courtney Laux and Hanna Kerr lost to Williams and Bettis, Albia’s second-seeded duo, by scores of 6-1, 6-2 in the opening round of doubles.