AMERICAN CORNER — Colonel Richardson High senior tennis player Kaitlyn Doetsch earned her first berth in the state playoffs with a second place finish in the 1A East Region tournament Saturday, May 18, in Cambridge.
Seeded second, Doetsch (16-3) defeated Mandy Smith 6-1, 6-0 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, she went to a tiebreaker against Bohemian Manor’s Kelsey Meis. Doetsch won the match 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 to advance to the tournament finals and earn a berth in states.
Top seed, Meadow Santoriello from Patterson Mill, defeated Doetsch in the finals 6-0, 6-0.
“I’m really excited to make states,” Doetsch said. “I’ve been playing tennis since I was about 8 years old. Tennis is something I really enjoy doing it for fun. I like the feeling of being out on the court.
“My forehands and backhands are my strengths,” she added. “Usually after the serve I can get the point.”
Doetsch began playing competitively once she got to Colonel as a freshman, and also plays throughout the year. Robert Williams is her Colonel tennis coach and Bruzz Truitt is her personal coach.
Her efforts caught the eye of the Salisbury University tennis team. She will be joining the Seagull team next year.
Williams said watching Doetsch battle in the region semifinal tiebreaker was thrilling, yet stressful.
“It is hard when you are a coach because you want to tell them what to do but tennis is such an individual sport,” he said. “So you just hope they figure it out for themselves. So you do a lot of cheering in those moments for them.
“At that moment, you just hope all those forehand and backhand drills comes in to play,” Williams added. “I’m just so glad she won a berth in states. She deserves it. She works extremely hard. I was really thankful and proud of her.”
Williams said Doetsch has grown a lot since her first year at Colonel. He said she always faces the top players from the other Bayside Conference schools, and her record speaks for itself with her being one of the top players in the conference.
“She has been working furiously since her freshman year during the season and offseason to get better,” he said. “That really yields good rewards.
“She has developed her serve, forehand and backhand,” Williams added. “Her forehand and backhand really help her. Her lateral movement is fantastic. She gets to all the shots, and sets herself up for quality returns. We are excited to go to states on Thursday.”
In addition to Colonel Richardson, the 1A East Region consisted of Havre de Grace, Joppatowne and Patterson Mill of Harford County; Bohemia Manor and Perryville of Cecil County; and Eastern Shore rivals Kent County, Cambridge, North Dorchester, St. Michaels, Pocomoke, Snow Hill and Washington.
The region finalists in boys and girls singles, boys and girls doubles and mixed doubles — from the East, West, North and South — advanced to the state tournament this weekend at Wilde Lake Tennis Club in Columbia.
For the first time, state champions will be crowned in all four enrollment classifications, 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A.