Lady Chargers' Knight heads local girls' tennis

-A A +A
By Mike Farner

MOUNT WASHINGTON - Bullitt East’s McKaela Knight will be looking to secure a high seed when the sophomore and her Lady Charger teammates head to South Oldham on Monday in one of the final tune-ups for the upcoming regional tournament.

A year ago, Knight was seeded fourth in the regional tournament, a spot behind teammate Tabitha Collins. Unfortunately, some youthful jitters got her early in the tourney and she was sent to the sidelines by a player that she had beaten during the regular season.

Now, Knight is looking for bigger and better things. The sophomore is undefeated this spring and Bullitt East head coach John Hedberg feels that his top player could be seeded as high as third for the upcoming competition in Frankfort.

“She should get to state,” Hedberg said during a match with Bullitt Central in which Knight won without losing a game. “She should have made it last year. Last year she was a freshman and just got real nervous.”

Unlike most local players, Knight plays tennis for most of the year. She works with others and competes in USTA events.

Hedberg is also expecting that his top doubles team sophomores Allison Murphy and Kaylan Ware will get one of the top eight seeds.

During the season, Bullitt East has posted a 7-2 record. That includes wins over their two county rivals as well as beating top-line regional foes like Shelby County and Oldham County. The two losses were to Western Hills and Franklin County.

Besides Knight and the doubles team, Bullitt East has new players in the program this year including a pair of foreign exchange students.

The number two singles player is Julia Brambilla Smith who is here for a year as an exchange student from Italy. Smith is also taking part in track this spring at Bullitt East.

The second doubles team is made up of senior Molly Turner and Saskia Bruggemann, an exchange student from Germany.

In addition, in duel matches this spring, the number three singles player has been freshman Megan Figg.

Hedberg says that he has 21 players in his program, but that for the most part that those seven players have been the ones taking part in the varsity matches. The top two singles players and the top two doubles teams will take part in the regional tournament.

Romine Takes Over at BC

The Bullitt Central girls’ team is under the direction of coach Jennifer Romine this year. She is well known locally as a youth basketball coach and has worked with some softball teams, including being an assistant coach at Bullitt East last year, before taking this job at Bullitt Central.

Romine inherited a team with seven seniors. She had 15 players show up for try-outs and she kept 12. That means that next season she will have to do some rebuilding.

Still, this group has made big strides since starting practice back in February.

“I think we have really come around as a team,” Romine said during a match against Bullitt East last week. “I have three freshmen coming up and they are promising. We’ll have to look at the middle schools next year and build from that.”

This is the first time that Romine has coached tennis and she has had to learn some of the same things that the players have learned.

“I’ve learned a lot,” Romine said. “I’ve definitely learned the etiquette of tennis. It’s more laid-back than basketball or softball. I was used to the upbeat nature of those sports. That’s been a difference to me.”

Before losing to Bullitt East on Thursday, Bullitt Central had been able to post a .500 mark this season. The team has beaten North Bullitt a handful of times and also defeated Moore. On the loss side have been matches with Bullitt East, Oldham County, North Oldham and Shelby County.

“We really battled well with Shelby County and East and Oldham County,” Romine said. “North is just really tough.”

The number one singles player for the Lady Cougars this season has been junior Megan Luttrell. The next two singles players are seniors Katie Curry and Cody Etherton.

In doubles, the top team is made up of seniors Joanna Cruise and Marissa Sanders. Sisters Andrea and Brooke Reesor, a senior and a sophomore, make-up the number two doubles squad.

The other players in the program are seniors Samantha Magruder and Regan McGlasson along with freshmen Emarald Garcia, Alicia Carper and Kylee Creason.