HENDERSON -- Dylan Edmonson and Brady Bilyeu fell short of a regional championship last season, but they weren't going to let that happen a second year in a row.
The pair of University Heights Academy tennis players got to move past that loss on Tuesday, as they won the 2nd Region championship in boys' doubles.
"We got down 15-40 and it felt tough and I knew I had to step up and make a good couple serves and Brady stepped up at the net and it felt amazing," Edmonson said. "It just feels so good to win a game like that."
UHA head coach Brian Bilyeu said it feels good to watch his kids win a regional championship.
"We felt we fell just short of it last year," he said. "We figured we'd meet one of these teams in the final and we kind of kept them in mind the whole time. They just dug deep and got it done this time. I'm proud of them because they're young and they've been working."
For the pair, it's another trip to the state tournament, and an even tougher challenge awaits them.
Brian said he just wants his kids to stay on top of things as they push for a run in the state tournament.
"Just stay sharp, focused and keep your energy up," he said. "If you can do that, then everything else will fall in place."
The pair weren't the only local representation making pushes at championships on Tuesday, as Hopkinsville had two doubles teams and one individual in contention for regional titles.
Riley Fort, the number two seed in the girls' singles tourney, had to go up against the top seed in Caldwell County's Belle Englebright in the championship. Englebright's precise play proved to be too much for Fort, as she fell in straight sets.
Hopkinsville head coach Will Myers said he thought Fort played well in her first regional championship match.
"I told her repeatedly this season I have seen her improve every year as a player throughout the season, but more so this year," he said. "Just seeing her take giant leaps forward in her game and as a young woman."
The other pair, Allie Fort and Ella Lester, won their semifinal match in straight sets and found themselves playing for a regional title as eighth graders, but like Sophie Maddux and Skylar Ray, fell in straight sets. Maddux and Ray fell in the semifinals as it prevented an all-Hopkinsville doubles final on the girls' side.
The pair said they've come a long way from last year and are glad to see the work pay off with a second-place finish at the regional tournament.
I think it's just awesome we made it this far," Fort said. "This year, I'm glad we've improved and hopefully we can win a match at state."
While not coming away with a
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regional championship, the Lady Tigers that played on Tuesday all qualified for the state championship, which is something Myers is happy to see.
"For the third year, I'm been sending multiple kids to state," Myers said. "It's very special with this group because I'm sending younger players, which means my younger players are developing faster. I won't say this year, but in years to come I think we'll make more noise at the state level. But it's really special this year too, because I get to send Riley Fort and Skylar Ray back. As a coach, they were my first team that got a win at state, so they get to go back and compete again, which I'm so happy for them, especially in their senior years."
The 2019 KHSAA state tennis tournament begins on May 30.