Prep tennis: GW, Huntington headline MSAC tournament
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Some of the state's best high school tennis players will be at Coonskin Park today for the Mountain State Athletic Conference tournament.
The one-day boys and girls event begins at 9 a.m.
The MSAC is host to both Huntington and George Washington - two juggernauts of West Virginia high school tennis.
Huntington's No. 1 singles player, Hunter Tubert, is the reigning Class AAA state champion.
"Hunter is an elite player - a five-star blue chip recruit," George Washington Coach Chris Luckett said.
Cassie Mercer, Huntington's No. 1 singles player on the girls side, is also the defending state champion.
Huntington's dominance doesn't end there. Huntington players last season claimed seven of the eight singles titles and all of the doubles titles.
George Washington, a perennial powerhouse, has only one blemish this season - to Huntington.
Ryan Massinople, the Patriots' No. 1 singles player, is the second seed in the MSAC's top flight and could meet Tubert in the finals.
Massinople, a junior, took over the No. 1 position from Zack Koenig this season. Koenig is now at the No. 2 seed.
Massinople has already lost to Tubert twice this year, but the MSAC Tournament could give him the opportunity for revenge before the state tournament.
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Hurricane's top singles player, Alex Clay, will be looking to make a deep push into the tournament. He would play either Massinople or Tubert in the semifinals.
Either matchup would represent tennis of a quality that usually is not seen outside of the state tournament.
Jordan Chapman, Hurricane's No. 2 singles player, has an 8-1 record on the season and could make a deep run in the conference tournament.
Vivien Yao, Hurricane's No. 2 singles player on the girls side, might've been the favorite to take home the MSAC title for the Redskins, but she won't participate today.
Yao has been accepted to Princeton University and is in New Jersey on an academic trip.
Payton Berardi will take Yao's place at the No. 2 position for the tournament.
Lindsay Goff, Hurricane's No. 3 singles player, could make a finals appearance.
"The girls No. 2 through No. 4 singles is wide open," Luckett said. "It is the most competitive I have seen in a long time."
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Capital will be close to home for the tournament.
The Cougars have a pair of sophomores with tennis in their blood.
Olivia Boughton, Capital's No. 2 singles player, and her twin brother Parker will have the opportunity to compete against the state's best in their own backyard.
Parker Boughton is the No. 1 singles player for the boys.
Andre Cunningham, Capital's No. 2 singles player, is the lone senior and provides experience to the Cougars' youthful squad.