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CHARLESTON — The Hurricane girls tennis team needed a big day on the Schoenbaum Tennis Courts in Kanawha City in order to claim its first-ever Class AAA team tennis title.

That’s exactly what they got on Saturday morning.

The Redskins entered the day three points behind defending champion Huntington and won four matches over the Highlanders on their way to winning the Class AAA girls tennis title.

Lexi Smolder, Katy Limanen and Savannah Allen took wins in the No. 1, 2 and 3 singles matches — each over a Huntington opponent. Smolder and Limanen also combined forces to down Highlander duo Baby Jones and Molly Archer in the No. 1 doubles final.

“I knew that they could do it. They’ve shown me they could do it all season,” Hurricane girls coach Kendra White said. “The girls just had to focus and take it point-by-point.”

The Hurricane boys team completed the Redskins’ sweep of Class AAA with 16 points, beating out George Washington who finished with 11 points. Huntington placed third with nine points.

“I really appreciate their mental fortitude,” Hurricane boys tennis coach Ashley White said. “They stayed in tough matches throughout the whole season but especially today. They came together as a team and supported each other and came out on top.”

Despite sharing a last name, Ashley White and Kendra White are not related. Now, they have more than just a last name in common, though. They are also both champion coaches who brought Hurricane their first titles.

“To have this and to be able to share it together is exciting,” Kendra White said.

Hurricane’s Lexi Smolder put a cap on her high school tennis career with two titles Saturday, in No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles. Smolder won an individual title as a freshman and finished as runner up her junior year in 2021.

“It was cool to win it as a freshman and I’m excited I got to win as as senior, too,” Smolder said. “...I figure this was a good way to end the year.”

On the boys side, Cabell Midland’s Ashton Cottrell took a win in three sets over Rohen Jones (GW) in the No. 1 boys singles title match.

It was the second time in as many years that Jones had fallen in the No. 1 singles finals, after losing to Huntington’s AJ Mercer a year ago.

After losing the No. 3 singles final in 2021, Cottrell vowed to change his outcome in 2022 and he stayed true to his word.

“I’d fallen to him three times during this season and to come out here and play against him and win is huge for me,” the sophomore Cottrell said. “He’s a really tough opponent and it means a lot to me.”

Samir Jones (GW) won in straight sets over Ryan Patterson (Huntington) in the No. 2 boys singles final and Curry Taylor (Hurricane) beat Huntington’s Will Touma for the No. 3 singles crown.

The longest match of the day — boys No. 4 singles — went four and a half hours before a winner was decided.

Morgantown’s Wyatt Abbitt prevailed over Hurricane’s Domenick Hoh (7-6 (10-8), 3-6, 6-1), but lost later in the day in the No. 3 doubles final with teammate Steven Tian to Hurricane’s Kellen Pauley and Elias Kave 6-4, 6-4.

The remaining boys doubles finals were also decided in straight sets with GW siblings Rohen and Samir Jones besting Hurricane’s Jacob Smolder and Zach Giertz in the No. 1 doubles final and Huntington duo Jax O’Roark and Ryan Patterson defeated Hurricane’s Curry Taylor and Hoh in the No. 3 doubles final.

The GW girls also took home No. 2 and No. 3 doubles titles. The team earned wins in each of the three matches the girls team competed in Saturday.

Luke Creasy is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @LukeCreasy or reach him by phone at 304-526-2800.

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