Skolik gets win for HHS
HUNTINGTON -- Huntington High's Robert Skolik got even with Hurricane's Reed Bailey.
Cabell Midland's Stephanie Fox took the season series lead against Huntington High's Cassie Mercer.
Those outcomes were among the highlights Friday in the Class AAA Region IV tennis championships at the Ritter Park Tennis Center.
Team wise, Huntington High won both titles. For the boys, the Highlanders 23 points and had four players in singles and two doubles teams qualify for the West Virginia High School Tournament next Thursday through Saturday in Charleston.
For the girls, Huntington High led the way with 26 points and went seven-for-seven in qualifying for the state tournament -- four in singles and three doubles teams.
Skolik, a junior, dropped a 9-7 decision to Bailey in the regular season. Skolik pressed the issue from the outset Friday and won, 8-1.
"I missed a lot of shots the first time," Skolik said. "I made them this time. I had a plan. I knew what I had to do."
Skolik held serve throughout and broke Bailey all but one time.
"I had to be patient," Skolik said. "I couldn't get frustrated and lose my mental edge."
Fox, a senior who signed to play at the University of Kentucky, showed great resolve against the freshman Mercer and won, 8-6. Mercer won the first meeting and Fox took the rematch in the Mountain State Athletic Conference Tournament.
Kevin Calhoun, assistant women's coach at Kentucky, watched the match.
"We have completely opposite games," Fox said. "I move the ball around and she really hits through the ball."
Fox made it four straight regional titles. However, she's 0-3 in the state tournament with losses in the finals all three seasons.
"One more shot," Fox said.
Mercer used her power to move the ball around, but Fox ran down nearly every shot. Fox and Mercer both got a lot out of their serves.
"She serves well," Fox said of Mercer. "I knew I had to hold. I had to keep the ball deep, too. She knows how to nail those lines. She's got great aim."
It's possible they could meet again with a state title on the line.
"Forget this one and start new," Fox said.
At the state next week, Class AAA matches will be played at the Kanawha City Community Tennis Center. Class AA/A matches will be held at Coonskin Park.
In Region IV singles, the top 4 from advanced at No. 1, the top three at No. 2, the top 2 at No. 3 and the champion at No. 4. In doubles, the top 3 go at No. 1, the champion and runner-up at No. 2 and the champion at No. 3.
Sarah Cummings, Katelyn McGuffin and Kate Huck also qualified in singles for the Huntington High girls.
"It feels great to win," Cummings said. "We feel we have the strongest region. We have to be on top of our games at states."
Alex Gain and Ian Gilliam are Huntington's other singles qualifiers on the boys side. Skolik/Gilliam and Campbell Neighborgall/Josh Clay are going in doubles.
"We're going in with a different mentality," Gilliam said. "We know what we've got to do to win."