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De Pere’s Cristescu/Fergus place third at state

Seeded No. 1 in Division 1 doubles, Ana Cristescu and Sophia Fergus went into state girls’ tennis with
high expectations.

The duo from De Pere came home with a solid third-place finish.

“We thought they played a remarkable tournament,” De Pere girls’ tennis coach Dave Reinardy said. “Once you get past the first couple rounds, there are any number of teams that can beat you given the right circumstances. The top seed is a nice accolade, but it doesn’t count for much once you get into the later rounds.”

Cristescu/Fergus went into state undefeated at 29-0. After a first-round bye, it downed Mukwonago’s Maddi DeBoth/Annie Wierzbicki, 6-1, 6-1.

The De Pere tandem then beat Hudson’s Grace Lewis/Grace Hanson, 6-0, 6-1, to move into the
quarterfinals. Cristescu/Fergus cruised past Madison West’s Tyra Gustavson SA/Molly Ryan, 6-1, 6-1.
In the semifinals, Cristescu/Fergus faced No. 4-seeded Molly Jex/Lizzie Stuckslager from Divine Savior Holy Angels. The De Pere ladies fell, 7-5, 6-3 for their first loss of the season. Jex/Stuckslager went on to capture the state title.

“Sophia and Ana played their best match of the year in their quarterfinal win the night before,” Reinardy said. “They landed almost every shot they took and their opponents had no answer. For whatever reason, both of their radars were off a bit in the semis and they couldn’t get them dialed back in. We need to credit Divine Savior for some of that — they played an outstanding match and committed way fewer unforced errors than we did. It was nice to see them win the championship.”

But Cristescu/Fergus bounced back nicely in the third-place match, beating No. 7-seeded Oshkosh West’s Keagan Potter/Kate Conger, 7-6(4), 6-4.

Reinardy loved to see his girls bounce back to finish third.

“They had practical experience during the season dealing with adversity, building resilience and rebounding from temporary setbacks,” Reinardy said. “Also, Sophia and Ana both have a high degree of confidence in their skills. It helped that they came up with a tough win during the season against the team they faced for third, so they had a fair amount of intel about what would work against them.”

Cristescu, who is just a freshman, and Fergus, a senior, finished 33-1 on the season.

Doubles competition
Also in Division I doubles, Green Bay Southwest’s tandem of Julia Tackmier/Allison Roever downed Madison West’s Emily Goetz/Iasbelle Gao, 6-4, 6-1, in the opening round.

In its second match, No. 13-seeded Tackmier/Roever beat Greendale’s Danijela Dragicevic/Suri Johnson, 6-1, 6-0.

Tackmier/Roever had their tournament end in the third round, falling to the eventual state champs Jex/Stuckslager, 7-5, 6-4.

Notre Dame Academy’s Kennedy May/Lilia Root lost in the opening round. It won the first set 6-3, but dropped the second and third, 6-4, 10-8. Another Tritons duo of Mary Sullivan/Natalia Welle fell, 7-6(3), 7-5 in the first round.

Ashwaubenon’s Karleigh Conradt/Mayghan Bongle were beaten in the first round, 6-4, 7-5. Pulaski’s Madeline Diefenthaler/Ruth Krause were downed in their only match, 6-2, 6-0.

Singles competition
Four local players competed in singles.

Notre Dame’s Lucy Lawton defeated New Richmond’s Izzy Brinkman 6-1, 6-3 in the first round. In a hard-fought second match, Lawton beat Franklin’s Mana Usui 6-3 in the opening set. However, Usui won the final two sets, 7-5, 10-5 to pull off the win.

Bay Port’s Khali Stephens won her opening-round match 6-0, 6-1 over Monona Grove’s Eliza Martin. No. 10-seeded Naisha Nagpal from Verona Area beat Stephens in the second round, 6-3, 6-4.

De Pere’s Mina Mangum was downed by Madison Memorial’s Sophia Jiang, 6-0, 6-0 in the first round.
Ashwaubenon’s Jordan Domnick fell 6-3, 6-2 to Kimberly’s Gurholt in her only match.

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