Wheeling Central's Joanna Capito keeps rolling along.
The senior, for the fourth year in a row, has already made all-state status by advancing to the semifinals of the West Virginia Class AA/A singles state tournament at Charleston Family YMCA in Kanawha City.
Capito beat Wyoming East's Savanna Lusk 8-2 and then defeated Halley Justice of Chapmanville 8-2 in the quarterfinals to advance to her fourth straight semifinal.
Photo by Craig Cunningham/Charleston Gazette/John Marshall’s Alaina Pauley competes in her first-round match at the W.Va. State Tennis Championships on Thursday in Charleston.
"I really think she has a great chance to win it all this time," Wheeling Central coach Peggy Dailer said. "Making all-state for four straight years is quite an accomplishment. Not too many athletes at Wheeling Central can say they did that, in any sport."
Capito will face Allie Yoho of Robert C. Byrd today in the semifinals.
It was a good start for the three area Class AA-A boys No. 1s, as Jonathan Haley of Central, Matt Conforti and Addison Sayre all posted first-round victories. The second round proved to be a different story.
Haley got off to a good start Thursday, beating Adam Tolliver of Independence 8-2. He ran up against Max Meade of St. Joe's in the second round and fell to the junior, who has been nearly unbeatable the last two years, 8-1.
"He played a wonderful match," Dailer said. "Meade is a great player. We were proud of Jonathan for playing as well as he did against an outstanding player."
Madonna's No. 1 player Matt Conforti battled two opponents Thursday afternoon. Beating Williamstown's Luke Flanagan alone would have been a tall task.
Beating Flanagan and the flu at the same time turned out to be impossible.
Conforti fell to Flanagan 8-0 in the Class AA-A quarterfinals.
"I heard a lot of spectators saying how unfortunate that match was because they wanted to see those kids play," Madonna coach Kelly Sinsigalli said. "He gave everything he had to give, he just didn't have it in that second match. He was out there sweating up a storm. I feel bad for him, but I'm proud of him because he gave it his best effort."
Conforti won his first match of the day with an 8-1 victory against Man's Larry Browning.
Oak Glen's Sayre defeated Nathan England of Wyoming East 8-2 in the opener.
He fell to Alec Moran of Lincoln 8-1 in the quarterfinals.
Central's No. 2 seed, Gus Schmidt, who received a bye in the first round, advanced to the semifinals after beating Mingo Central's Cal Surber 8-6.
Schmidt can make all-state and advance to the finals with a victory today against Charleston Catholic's Andrew Jones.
No. 3 seed Billy Teufel won his first match with an 8-2 victory against Garrett Bailey of Westside. He will face Keyser's Daniel Lewis today for a spot in Saturday's No. 3 seed state championship
Haley and Schmidt received a first-round bye in the No. 1 doubles competition and will face Charleston Catholic's Joe Kelly and Noah Cable in the quarterfinals.
For the second consecutive year, John Marshall's Hayden Blazer had his season ended by Huntington's Hunter Tubert, who has won three consecutive Class AAA No. 1 seed state championships.
This time, however, Blazer met Tubert in the quarterfinals, after beating Shady Spring's Ryan Albaugh, 8-5 in his first match.
Tubert defeated Blazer 8-1.
Blazer, who won the OVAC No. 1 championship earlier this month, finishes his senior year with a 24-2 record.
"That was the hardest-serving boy I've ever seen," John Marshall coach Brad Howard said of Tubert. "He's a super player."
Howard praised the play of Blazer, who will play college tennis at West Liberty this fall.
"Hayden had an outstanding season," Howard said. "Everyone can be really proud of all that he has accomplished, especially at the 3-A level where there is so much talent."
Blazer and teammate Tyler Keller fell to Greenbrier East's Tom von Dohlen and Cordell Bostic in their first round No. 1 doubles match. 8-6.
Alaina Pauley represented the Monarchs in the girls' Class AAA Tournament and fell to George Washington's top-seeded Kirsen White 8-0.
Madonna's Thomas Gianni beat Wyoming East's Alec Lusk in the first round at No. 2 but fell to Williamstown's Aaron Leo 8-0 in the quarterfinals.
Madonna's No. 4 singles seed Allen Alimario will take on Chris Lawless in the semifinals. Only four advance to the state championship at No. 4.
On the girls' side, No. 1 Ali Welch defeated Hannah Bowman of Independence 8-3 before falling to Petersburg's Kelsie Robey 8-3.
Elizabeth Conforti defeated Emilee Russell of Liberty-Raleigh 8-1 and will face Parvance Karimpour of St. Joe's. Madonna's Morgan Duerr will face Bluefield's Claire Bailey in the semis of the No. 4 singles bracket.
"I feel really good about (today)," Sinsigalli said. "Even as far as the team scores go, I think we still have a chance because we are deeper and have more representation here. I've never really looked at the picture this big before. I didn't even consider the fact that we would be in a position where we could possibly take home a state championship."
Madonna is in a logjam with two points, behind four teams who lead with three, including Oak Glen.
Oak Glen's Madison Juszczak won the No. 4 state championship last season. This year she moved up to No. 2 seed but she keeps on winning, which has pretty much been her career as a Golden Bear in a nutshell.
"She played on two state volleyball championship teams her freshman and sophomore years," coach Ken Keller said. "Last year she won a tennis championship. She is pretty busy (in the fall) but as soon as the volleyball season ends she puts down the ball and picks up her tennis racket. She takes it seriously."
After receiving a first-round bye, she defeated Petersburg's Kelsey Self 8-3.
Oak Glen's No. 1, Haley Spurlock, won her first match against Sara Walker of Westside but fell in the second match to Charleston Catholic's Christina Centofant 8-5.
Spurlock and Juszczak received a first-round bye at No. 1 doubles and move to the quarterfinals today.
Weir's Barbie Sulimanova advanced to the semifinals at No. 2 along with Juszczak but they are in different brackets and could meet for a state title Saturday if they win their respective matches today.
Sulimanova beat Shayla Stephens of Liberty-Raleigh 8-3 and then knocked off Bridgeport's Taylor Abraham 8-6.