Thatcher girls tennis top-ranked in Division III

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Thatcher’s top-ranked girl’s tennis team placed first in a weekend tourney, topping four opponents 4-0 and their own junior varsity team 3-1. Members of the Leah Meehl-coached Eagles are, from left, Ellie Alder, Maddie Palmer, Ashlyn McWhorter, Lacie Whitmer, Savanna Turley, and Sydnie Alder.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

THATCHER – The Thatcher girls tennis team may not be the team to beat for the 2019 title, but the Leah Meehl-coached Eagles have the top-ranked girls’ team in the state’s 47 Division III tennis teams.

“We won’t know who the one to beat is until the state tournament,” Meehl said.

Six Eagles, seniors Savanna Turley and Lacie Whitmer plus sophomores Allie Alder, Sydney Alder, Maddie Palmer, and Ashlyn McWhorter, went 5-0 to finish first in the school’s two-day, eight-team tourney ending March 23.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Senior Lacie Whitmer backhands a return to a Silver High opponent en route to the Eagles 4-0 team win. The pairing was the meet’s final one before awards were handed out March 23.

Thatcher went 5-0 in its own meet, posting 4-0 wins over Douglas, Miami, and Morenci in pool pairings, 3-1 over Thatcher J.V. during the semifinals and 4-0 over New Mexico Silver during the championship on the second day. Silver defeated Miami 3-1 during the other semifinal.

The top two teams in each pool were cross paired with each other as were the third and fourth place teams on the second day, assuring each team five matches during the meet.

In pool play, Thatcher went 3-0, Miami 2-1, Douglas 1-2, and Morenci 0-3 in Pool A while Silver went 3-0, Thatcher J.V. 2-1, Safford 1-2, and Benson 0-3 in Pool B.

Thatcher has six 9-0 wins, over Sierra Vista Buena (Feb. 25), Safford (Feb. 28), Morenci (March 5), Willcox (March 6), and Pima (March 19) plus an 8-1 win over Duncan (Feb. 26).

The Eagles have seven duels plus a tourney left on their regular season schedule, beginning with Safford (March 26), at Duncan (March 28), Miami (April 3), at Morenci (April 4), at Willcox (April 9), Pima (April 11), and at Benson (April 16).

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