It can get awkward when teammates square off against each other. Just ask Tristen Caskey of Lee’s Summit West.
“I think it’s more difficult,” Caskey said. “You’ll see them every day from now on and you’ll have to like act like a good person, especially after playing someone better than you and you don’t expect to win.”
Caskey found herself in that awkward position Friday during the Class 2, District 13 girls’ tennis singles tournament final at Lee’s Summit North.
On the other side of the net stood Pranathi Gannavaram, the Titans’ No. 1 singles player this season. Caskey beat Gannavaram 10-5, but since both singles and doubles finalists advance to sectionals, the match didn’t end anyone’s season.
“It did make it easier,” said Caskey, whose older sister Kelen went to state in doubles with Gannavaram as a senior last season. “It’d be harder to win if I knew I was going to kick her out and she wouldn’t be able to advance.”
West had a double dose of that awkwardness as it also closed out the doubles championship match. Gillian Evans and Kennedy Cross met Chloe Sabin and Sara Duong in the doubles final, with Evans and Cross winning 10-3.
West tennis coach Todd Wilson said he couldn’t recall one team sweeping both brackets, and that in itself was worth a little in-team uneasiness.
“We knew if we played well we had a chance at doing this,” Wilson said. “Quite honestly, I told my girls yesterday that I’m expecting us all to be playing each other in the finals. We played well, and here we are.”
Caskey reached the final with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Catherine Henne of Notre Dame de Sion.
Gannavaram joined her after beating Lindsey Allin of Lee’s Summit 6-1, 6-1.
During the title match, Caskey jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the final, but Gannavaram battled back to within 7-5 before Caskey pulled away.
“Tristen has been playing exceptionally well and Pranathi has, too,” Wilson said. “When you have two really good players playing each other and one is off just a tick, it’s going to open the door. Tristen, to her credit, took advantage of it and she ended up winning the match.”
Sabin and Duong qualified for sectionals with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 win against Kaylie Rock and Emily Gerber of Lee’s Summit North in the doubles semifinals, while Evans and Cross advanced by beating Sion’s entry 6-2, 6-4.
Evans and Cross have been the Titans’ No. 2 team most of the season with Sabin and Duong playing mostly in the No. 3 spot.
“They’re pretty even,” Wilson said. “They’re both real solid teams.”
West’s singles and doubles teams advanced to sectional play Tuesday at Lee’s Summit North, which wrapped up too late for the Journal’s deadline.
Additionally, the Titans play Liberty in a Class 2 team sectional Oct. 7 at Kearney High School with the winner playing later that day in the state quarterfinals for a spot in the Class 2 state team tournament in Springfield.
That’s plenty of time for bygones to be bygones.
“We’re really good friends,” Caskey said, “and it’s hard to play friends.”