Franklin girls tennis wins regional title

Franklin junior Chelsie Rayl didn’t want to be in this spot.

“I was not feeling good before the match,” Rayl said. “I was shaky all around. I don’t think I ate enough. I was not in the mood to play a long match. But I pushed through it.”

Rayl was the last Franklin player to finish on Wednesday in the No. 8 Grizzly Cubs’ 5-0 shutout of Roncalli in the championship match of the Center Grove Regional. Franklin (25-0) will now play No. 6 Park Tudor in Saturday’s semistate at Center Grove.

Rayl won the last four games to close out a 6-3, 6-3 victory over freshman Lily Rutherford at No. 2 singles.

“She wasn’t 100%,” Franklin coach Rusty Hughes said. “The whole year Chelsie only has one loss (to Center Grove’s Sloane Small in last week’s sectional final).”

Junior Rylie Wilkison stayed unbeaten at No. 1 singles, topping Rebecca Zakrowski 6-1, 6-3. Wilkison was glad she didn’t take long on the court.

“It was really hot out today,” Wilkison said.

Wilkison reached the state singles quarterfinals last year.

“It’s going to get harder in each match,” Wilkison said. “I’ve just been working on everything. I’m trying to get better each time I play. I’m trying to play point by point.”

The Grizzly Cubs lost to Oldenburg 3-2 in last year’s semistate.

“We’ve all been practicing hard, so I feel like we’ve all improved,” Wilkison said.

Senior Emma Williams cruised past Roncalli junior Kate Rittenhouse 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3 singles.

The No. 1 doubles team of senior Ailyn Hendricks and freshman Marnie Moore earned the Grizzly Cubs’ first point by beating senior Elsie Kerr and junior Morgan Vaught 6-1, 6-1.

Hendricks and Moore’s only loss this season came to Floyd Central’s No. 1 team, which was the state doubles runner-up last season.

The Grizzly Cubs’ No. 2 doubles team of sophomore Kate Pinnick and junior Kennedy Urban topped Roncalli junior Thalia Guzman and freshman Evie Eble 6-0, 6-2.

“One match we might be stronger at one position and another we might be stronger at a different position,” Hughes said. “Hopefully, everyone is peaking at every position as we get farther in the tournament.”

The Royals lost to Franklin 5-0 earlier this season.

“We have a bunch of juniors coming back and we only lose one senior,” Roncalli coach Jim Stone said. “We lost three seniors who were all-conference from last year, so that hurt. I was really pleased with the whole season and how it ended up. We only lost one match I thought we shouldn’t have lost to; we lost to Guerin Catholic and we had a chance to win. Our schedule is pretty tough. We lost to Franklin twice, Brebeuf Jesuit and Park Tudor.”