It's been a tough year for Randy McDonough and the Watauga High boy's and girl's tennis teams. And it got a little tougher on Saturday.
The Pioneers produced one state qualifier at the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Class 4A Western Regional at McAlpine Park in Charlotte. Kathleen Mansure made the field with a 23rd-place finish in the girl's race. She completed the course in 19:31 The top four teams and the top five individuals not associated with those teams advance to the state championships at Beeson Park in Kernersville, N.C., next Saturday.
Michael Holland paced the boys with a 16th-place finish (16:33), but he missed the cut. Team-wise, the WHS boys just missed reaching the state finals as they finished fifth; the girls were eighth.
"It was a very fast field and very tough day for us," McDonough said. "We have some building to do. Michael had a very good time, but the top finishers were not associated with the teams that advanced. It was a fast race. Michael ran well. He gave it his best."
Lake Norman, which won the regional championship, Providence, Asheville-Roberson and Myers Park all qualified as teams in the boy's race. The Pioneers finished fifth with 168 points. The Mustangs finished fourth with 125. It's the first time since 2004 that the WHS boys did not qualify for the state meet.
In the girl's race, Providence, which won the girl's regional title, Myers Park, Asheville-Roberson and Lake Norman qualified as teams. Watauga finished eighth with 251 points. It's the second year in a row that the WHS girls didn't qualify for the state meet.
Celia Jackson was 35th (20:04) in the girl's race, and Lily Weeks was 38th (20:15); in the boy's race, Jacob Soule was 25th (16:45) and Matt Osborne was 30th (16:52).
"Kathleen has been steady for us all season," McDonough said. "She got in there with a strong effort on Saturday. It's disappointing that we didn't qualify any of our teams. But Kathleen will represent us well at the state meet next week. I'm proud of her, and I have a lot of confidence in her."
The Class 4A state championships will be held next Saturday, November 2 at Beeson Park in Kernersville, N.C. The girl's Class 4A race begins at 4 p.m,