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Hays High seniors ready for state

Published on -10/10/2012, 10:27 AM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Hays High School senior Shelby Dinkel had a rough season in comparison to some of her Indian counterparts.

Dinkel headed into the Class 5A regional tennis touranment Saturday in Valley Center with a 17-15 record playing No. 1 singles. While she hovered above .500 all season, the rest of her team had a .600 winning percentage or better.

However, it was Dinkel who had the best finish at the regional tournament.

Dinkel went 3-1 and placed fifth, punching her ticket to the Class 5A state tournament alongside the doubles team of seniors Megan Bird and Janae Gagnon who went 2-2 and placed sixth.

"The biggest thing that's exciting to me is it's us three seniors," Dinkel said. "... We all grew together the last few years."

The three Indians will compete Friday and Saturday at the Class 5A state tournament at the Topeka-Kossover Tennis Center. It's the first time Hays High has qualified more than one for state since the early 1980s.

Granted, it's easier now to qualify for state than in the past. Now, the top six out of a regional qualify. In the past, it was just top four.

However, Hays High tennis coach Brett Jensen said it's still an achievement.

"We were very excited ... knowing they had done something that hasn't happened in a long time," he said.

As far as Dinkel (20-16), though, Jensen wasn't surprised she qualified. He said Dinkel's record wasn't indicative of her skill level.

"We've known Shelby had the potential to make state all year," Jensen said.

Jensen said it was just a matter of Dinkel having a good day.

"Some days she's on, and some days she's off," Jensen said.

It also helped the regional combined No. 1 and No. 2 singles players together, so she didn't always have to play a team's best player like she did all season.

"I finally played against people I knew I could beat," Dinkel said.

Dinkel credited the team's success to her coach.

"This is our second year with Brett, and he knows what he's talking about," Dinkel said.

This week in practice, Jensen said they are going to work on honing the weaknesses in his players' games. With Bird and Gagnon (22-10), they are going to work on volleys, and with Dinkel, they are going to focus on consistency and power.

"It's really just touching up a lot of little things," Jensen said.

The team's goal was to get a player to state. They did better than that and got two qualifiers, and now, Jensen said the goal is to upset some players at state.

"We want to get these girls a medal," Jensen said.

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