Salina Central Finishes Runner-Up in 5A Tennis

Salina Central Finishes Runner-Up in 5A Tennis

Battling through adversity, injuries and 40 mph wind gusts, the Salina Central girls tennis team rallied together to capture the runner-up team trophy at 5A State tennis championships, held at the new Salina Tennis Center. This marks the third year in a row that the Mustangs have secured a team trophy, by going 2nd in 2021, 3rd in 2022 and 2nd in 2023. With 25 teams and 72 players competing in the 5A State tournament, Andover won the team title for a third consecutive year, and Bishop Carroll finished third behind Salina Central.

After winning their third consecutive Regional team championship last week, the Mustangs had two of the top 4 doubles team in 5A during the regular season coming into the State tournament, with juniors and Regional doubles champions Addison & Mallory Renfro the #3 seed, and Claire Renfro & Kinsley

Foth the #4 seed, as well as one of the top singles players in the state, senior Janae Montoya. Unfortunately, during the doubles finals of Regionals, Foth injured her knee, and later found out the she would be unable to play at State. KSHSAA rules allow for a doubles team that qualified for State to replace an injured player with a player on the roster that did not compete at Regionals. Sophomore Brooke Banniger, who is in her first year of playing competitive tennis, stepped in to fill Foth’s spot as Claire’s doubles partner. Junior, Claire Renfro, a 3-time State qualifier and State medalist last year, helped lead the duo in pulling off two stunning walk-off tiebreaker victories against Newton and Spring Hill to secure a top 10 finish and medalist honors, which helped the team amass key points during the championship.

In route to the team’s runner-up finish, Addison and Mallory Renfro, 3-time State qualifiers and medalists, capped off a record setting season by going 5-1 at the 5A State tennis tournament and finishing 5th in a talented doubles draw, while each amassing a 37-5 overall season record, the most wins in a season in the storied history of Salina Central tennis. Together as a doubles team, Addison and Mallory this year were 34-4, as additionally they went 3-1 with different partners at AVCTL II league, with Addison playing with sister Claire, and Mallory playing with Foth, making Addison and Mallory’s collective individual overall season record the same at 37-5.

The lone Senior on the team, Janae Montoya, a 4-time State qualifier and 3 -time State medalist, competed through the tough singles draw to finish 7th, and avenged a loss that she had in the regular season, and completed her career with 120 wins, putting her in the top 5 all-time wins at Salina Central. She went 5th, 3rd and 7th at State respectively the last three years in singles, was a 2-time Regionals singles champion, league champion, and has become one of the most accomplished players that the program has had.

With the completion of the new public courts at the Salina Tennis Center, this marked the first time in nearly 20 years that Salina has hosted a State tennis tournament, with fans coming from all over the state to take part in the 2 day event. Comments from players, coaches and fans were positive and they want to return to the Salina venue for future State tennis tournaments.

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