Local Sports from The Courier
Monday, October 15, 2012Prep tennis: Trojans' Gray falls in district semis
LIMA -- Meghan Gray's 2012 season and Findlay High tennis career ended Saturday in the Division I district semifinals at the University of Northwestern Ohio.
Findlay coach Sean Swisher feels the senior deserved a better fate.
"If you end up on the wrong side of the draw, which we did, you're sunk," Swisher said.
"Coaches have complained about this set-up for years. The way the system exists now, we don't feel it's fair to all the tennis players in Northwest Ohio."
Gray faced Sylvania Northview junior Megan Miller, a state qualifier in 2010, in Saturday's semifinals and lost 6-0, 6-1. Miller then beat Norwalk's Aubrey Cook 6-1, 6-1 in the finals.
With only the top two players advancing from the Northwest Ohio district, Miller and Cook will be the Northwest Ohio's only singles players taking part in this week's Division I state meet in Columbus.
Swisher's contention is that Miller and Gray were the top two players in the district. Because the predetermined seeding had both in the same bracket, however, only one could advance to state.
"No offense to the other two girls on the other side of the court (Cook and Toledo Notre Dame's Nina Eid). They're good players but I feel both were more than beatable," Swisher said.
Four districts advance players to the 16-team singles and doubles state tournament.
The Central District, which includes two schools from the East and two from the Southeast Districts for sectional tennis purposes, has 46 total teams and qualifies its top four singles players and doubles teams for state.
The Southwest District, with 51 total teams, also advances four to state.
Most of Ohio's Division I schools are in the Northeast District. With at least 68 teams entering sectional play, the top six singles players and doubles teams from that district qualify for state.
The Northwest District, with 25 Division I girls tennis teams, advances to state only the two singles players and doubles teams that make it to the district final.
Gray ended her career with a 75-22 overall record, despite missing her sophomore season with an injury. She was Greater Buckeye Conference Player of the Year as a freshman and first-team all-Three Rivers Athletic Conference as a junior and senior.
"It's frustrating to see great tennis players year after year get the short end of the stick because of where they fall in the draw," Swisher said. "She's had an illustrious career. But she came up one match short of going to state for the second year in a row.
"If you get on the wrong side of the draw, it's not fair to lose out because of where they live geographically."
Swisher said options have been suggested to resolve the issue, such as reseeding players before the district tournament, or moving the district back to the Sandusky/Port Clinton area (as it was in past years), and including teams from Northeast to balance the number of state qualifiers from each district.
If even one more state qualifying berth was available, the losers of the semifinal matches would square off to determine that spot, a situation that occurs in Northwest Ohio in Division II.
"The issue should be determined on the court," Swisher said. "We've been complaining for many years but it falls on deaf ears. The OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association continues to deny our requests."
Subscribe to The Courier.