|History has already been made at the 2016 Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Girls Tennis State Finals, as Sectional play last week ushered in the Two-Class State Series era. The IHSA contested its first Girls Tennis State Finals in 1972 in a single class, where the sport has remained until now. The State Final field remains the same size, as the total qualifying number was split in half and appropriated to each class. Buffalo Grove High School remains Tournament Central for both classes, and will host all of Saturday’s matches, while other matches will be contested throughout Chicagoland at the courts from the high schools in Districts 211, 214 & 220 (see right sidebar).
Earlier this week, a committee of coaches seeded the Top 4 players in each bracket, who are then separated in the bracket. The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds are set, while the two singles players/doubles tandems designated as the No. 3/4 seeds are interchangeable between the two seed positions. The committee then seeds a group of four players from 5-8. The players in those groupings are assigned to the remainder of the bracket, with provisions made to try and prevent players from the same high school or same Sectionals from having to matchup until as late as possible in the meet.
1 Madison Tattini, Bloomington Central Catholic
2 Alessandra Bianco, Latin
3/4 Kelsey Neville, Antioch
3/4 Dhanya Asokumar, Chicago University
5/8 Ana Hatfield, Boylan Catholic
5/9 Nicole Lao, UNO Charter/Rogers Park
5/8 Kylie McCarthy, Triad
5/8 Haley Fakouri, Fenwick
1 Maddie Bauer - McCoy Hutchison, Joliet Catholic Academy
2 Katie Telford - Pauline Neubert, Benet Academy
3/4 Emma Melichar - Madelyn Skinner, Althoff Catholic
3/4 Shelby Johnson - Madelynn Jurasek, Aurora Christian
5/8 Isabel Schaefbauer - Abby Totten, Normal University
5/8 Delnaz Patel - Florence Almeda, Chicago University
5/8 Niusha Daneshdoost - Arina Martin, Carbondale
5/8 Eleanor Ruscitti - Maya Seymore, Latin
Not only will Saturday see the first-ever Class 1A team champion crowned, but the trophy will also be hoisted by a first-time champion, as every IHSA team state champ in history is currently competing in Class 2A. Only two schools in the 1A field, Flora and Alleman, qualified the maximum four entries (6 total players, two singles, two doubles) this weekend. The latter had the top team Sectional score in the state with 31 points, while Bloomington Central Catholic, Boylan Catholic and Teutopolis all posted 29 points apiece in Sectionals, just ahead of Antioch and Quincy Notre Dame’s tally of 28 points.
However, of the seven aforementioned schools, only three have a seeded singles player or doubles tandem, meaning multiple schools will have a chance to vie for the team title. Chicago’s University High School and Latin School are the only schools in the class who have seeded players in both singles and doubles.
Bloomington Central has the top seeded Singles player in the field in junior Madison Tattini, who fell a match shy of the quarterfinals a year ago. The No. 2 seed belongs to Latin junior Alessandra Bianco, a semifinal qualifier in 2015 who has been knocked from the championship bracket by the eventual state runner-up the past two years. Bianco’s run in 2015 included a victory over Antioch’s Kelsey Neville, who is now a junior and earned the No. 3/4 seed this weekend, while fellow No. 3/4 seed Dhanya Asokumar of Chicago University returns to the Singles state final field for the first time since her freshman year.
Joliet Catholic Academy’s top-seeded senior tandem of Maddie Bauer and McCoy Hutchinson fell one win shy of the quarterfinals in each of the past two seasons. Benet senior Katie Telford reached the third round of last year’s doubles tourney, and is expected to go further in 2016 with new partner, senior Pauline Neubert, if the No. 2 seed holds true. Althoff’s Emma Melichar was a singles state qualifier in 2015, but teams with fellow senior Madelyn Skinner this season. The pair share the No. 3/4 seed with Aurora Christian’s team of Shelby Johnson and Madelynn Jurasek, who won a doubles match at state last year as freshmen.
1 Michelle Bacalla, Niles North
2 Asuka Kawai, Palatine
3/4 Lahari Yelamanchili, Lyons
3/4 Anastasia Goncharova, Evanston
5/8 Olivia Oosterbaan, Hinsdale Central
5/8 Jelly Bozovic, Lyons
5/8 Samantha Choi, Wheaton Warrenville South
5/8 Agata Mikos, Hinsdale South
1 Colette O’Regan - Catherine O’Regan, Glenbrook North
2 Erika Oku - Megan Guenther, Hinsdale Central
3-4 Carolyn Ahn - Mira Amin, Hinsdale Central
3-4 Grace Desse - Morgan Colbert, Edwardsville
5-8 Michelle Capone - Amia Ross, New Trier
5-8 Danielle Blaser - Callie Klein, Libertyville
5-8 Gina Kondos - Elizabeth Ferdman, Stevenson
5-8 Karina Falkstrom - Marie Kapelevich, Carmel
The Class 2A field features seven programs (Edwardsville, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Neuqua Valley, Sandburg, Stevenson, Whitney Young) that enter the weekend with the maximum of four entries. Stevenson was the runner-up in 2015, while Edwardsville (T7th) and Whitney Young (10th) each recorded Top 10 finishes a year ago. Don’t be fooled by the absence of Hinsdale Central from that list. The Red Devils won the 2014 and 2015 state titles outright, and shared the crown with Lake Forest in 2013. Hinsdale Central has three entries vying for a piece of a fourth straight state title, including a pair of seeded doubles teams (No. 2 seniors Erika Oku & Megan Guenther; No. 3/4 freshmen Carolyn Ahn & Mira Amin).
If the singles seeds hold true, the state championship would be a rematch of a quarterfinal from the 2015 state finals. Niles North junior Michelle Bacalla is the No. 1 seed, but it was Palatine senior Asuka Kawai, this year’s No. 2 seed, who won their meeting a year ago in three sets (5-7, 6-4, 6-2). The No. 3/4 seeds are Lyons sophomore Lahari Yelamanchili, who played into the quarterfinals of the doubles field last year, and a first-time state qualifier in Evanston junior Anastasia Goncharova.
Glenbrook North’s senior twin tandem of Colette O’Regan and Catherine O’Regan reached the quarterfinals in 2014 and semifinals in 2015, so both their progression and No. 1 seed hint at a spot in the state championship match. The remaining No. 3/4 doubles seed belongs to Edwardsville juniors Grace Desse and Morgan Colbert, who won three matches at state a year ago before bowing out.
45th year of State Series
1st year of two-class series
Buffalo Grove High School
Barrington High School
Conant High School
Elk Grove High School
Fremd High School
Hersey High School
Hoffman Estates High School
Palatine High School
Prospect High School
Rolling Meadows High School
Schaumburg High School
Wheeling High School
Thursday, October 20
All matches - 8:00 am *
Friday, October 21
Consolation - 8:00 am *
Championship - 9:00 am *
Saturday, October 22
Consolation - 8:00 am
Championship - 9:00 am
* Suspended matches will be played at a site and time TBA by tournament managers
There is no charge for admission at this event
No broadcasts currently scheduled for this event
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