Duncan girls tennis holding steady at third in section

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Senior Brooklyn Kempton backhands a return during a recent match. Duncan’s top seed won two of three pairings last week, defeating Safford junior Ella Peterson on March 25 and Thatcher senior Savanna Turley on March 28. The Wildkats downed Thatcher 5-4 plus fell 5-4 to Benson on March 26 and 9-0 to Thatcher.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

DUNCAN – Duncan’s tennis girls remained third in the Division III – Section I standings following three duels last week. The Wildkats slipped past Safford 5-4 on March 25, were edged 5-4 by Benson on March 26, and succumbed 6-3 to Thatcher on March 28.

The No. 18-ranked Wildkats (4-4 section, 4-4 seeding) are behind top-ranked Thatcher (8-0, 9-0) and No. 13 Safford (5-3, 6-3), and ahead of No. 19 Benson (3-4, 3-5), No. 22 Morenci (2-5, 3-5), No. 23 Willcox (2-5, 4-5), and No. 31 Pima (2-5, 2-5). There are 48 teams in the division.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Sophomore Melissa Claridge has a 5-3 singles seeding record with four duels remaining in the regular season.

Duncan is 24-24 in singles and 10-14 in doubles, including a forfeit loss both in singles and doubles.

In singles, No. 2 junior Kaitlyn Lunt is 8-0, No. 3 sophomore Melissa Claridge 5-3, No. 1 senior Brooklyn Kempton and No. 5 sophomore Kinsley Rapier 4-4 apiece, No. 4 junior Lynnie Neilson 3-5, and No. 6 freshman Ella Jernigan 0-7.

The Lunt – Neilson duo is 5-2, Kempton – Claridge 4-2, Kempton – Lunt 1- 0, Kempton – Claridge 1-1, and Rapier – Jernigan 0-7.

Duncan visits Safford on Tuesday, April 2.

Thatcher – 6, Duncan – 3

Two singles and a doubles pairings ended favorably for Duncan. The wins were 6-4 by Kempton over senior Savanna Turley, 6-1 and 6-3 by Lunt over sophomore Ashlyn McMaster, and 8-5 by Kempton – Lunt over Turley – senior Lexee Scarborough.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Duncan junior Kaitlyn Lunt slams the ball at an opponent, posting an 8-0 record through eight pairings. The 4-4 Wildkats have one of four remaining duels at home. Duncan is at Safford on Tuesday, April 2.

For Thatcher, the singles wins were by sophomore Sydnie Alder (6-0, 6-2 over Claridge), sophomore Maddie Palmer (6-0 twice over Neilson), sophomore Ellie Alder (6-0 twice over Rapier), and Scarborough (6-0 twice over Jernigan).

In doubles, Blair – Bryce (9-8 over Kempton – Claridge) and Lunt – McWhorter (8-2 over Rapier – Jernigan) had wins.

Benson – 5, Duncan – 4

Duncan prevailed in three singles and one doubles pairings. The wins were by Lunt (8-2 over senior Julia Little), Claridge (8-0 over sophomore Taylor Lutz), and Rapier (8-3 over junior Lacy Hamilton) in singles plus Lunt – Neilson (8-5 over Lutz – sophomore Paige Vaughn) in doubles.

For Benson, the singles wins were by senior Kay Lee Merrill (9-7 over Kempton), Vaughn (8-6 over Neilson), and sophomore Dalia Bustamante (8-0 over Jernigan).

In doubles, Merrill – Little (8-3 over Kempton – Claridge) and Hamilton – Bustamante (8-4 over Rapier – Jernigan) posted wins.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Sophomore Kinsley Rapier backhands the ball during a recent single’s pairing. She won two of three matches, defeating Benson junior Lacy Hamilton and Safford senior Gianna Ciancimino last week.

Duncan – 5, Safford – 4

The Wildkats chalked up three singles and two doubles wins versus the Bulldogs.

Kempton (8-2 over junior Ella Peterson), Lunt (8-2 over senior Alissa Carter), Rapier (9-7 over senior Gianna Ciancimino), Kempton – Claridge (8-2 over Peterson – junior Cambry Cluff), and Lunt – Neilson (8-5 over Carter – junior CeAirra Bowman) all recorded wins.

For Safford, Bowman (8-5 over Claridge), Cluff (8-2 over Neilson), and junior Sonja Estrada (8-0 over Jernigan) each won singles pairings. The doubles win was by Ciancimino – Estrada (9-7 over Rapier – Jernigan).

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