Antigo senior Margo Kelly is all smiles outside Baldwin-Woodville High School after qualifying for the WIAA Division Two State Tennis Meet Wednesday. The State Meet begins October 14.

It’s been another strong season for the Antigo Red Robins girls tennis team and it’s not over yet, as the Robins will be represented at the WIAA State Meet.

Margo Kelly, Antigo’s top ace in the No. 1 singles spot has qualified for State.

Competing in a Division Two sectional Wednesday, hosted by Baldwin-Woodville, Kelly needed a win against Ellsworth’s Molly Janke to move on. Janke entered the sectional meet with an impressive 22-2 record.

Kelly started out a little slow, but quickly figured out her opponent’s game to run away with the match, 6-2, 6-1.

Now a State qualifier, Kelly’s next opponent was much more of a challenge. Deidra Meyer from Amery gave Kelly all she could handle in the first set.

The rallies were long with neither giving an inch as the set went to a tie-break that could have went either way, but Kelly held on to squeak out the win, 7-5.

Meyer’s spirit was broken as Kelly cruised to a 6-1 second set victory.

The win propelled her to the championship round against a familiar foe, Becky Larraine of Great Northern Conference rival, Newman Catholic.

It was the fourth time the pair had met, but Kelly, exhausted from her last challenging match, couldn’t come up with the goods and lost 2-6, 0-6.

“It was a fantastic tournament for Margo,” head coach Dave Zalewski said. “A second place finish in a tough sectional. She has steadily improved all season and that effort will be rewarded by a trip to the State Tournament.”

The Robins had a total of five competitors at sectionals. Antigo’s top doubles team of Ellie Packard and Faith Bussiere didn’t achieve the results they were hoping for.

Facing off against Rice Lake’s combination of Lexington Berger and Kallahan Bowman, their season ended with a 3-6, 2-6 loss.

“These two have had a wonderful season,” Zalewski noted. “Their doubles play kept getting stronger, but it just wasn’t their day.”

Brechlyn Flannery competed in No. 2 singles and had to play a pair of physically demanding matches.

“As has been the case with Brechlyn all season, her matches went long with the rallies often being a battle of wills in who can stay most focused,” Zalewski explained. “In typical Brechlyn style, she played with heart and effort.”

In the end, Flannery came up just short, falling 1-6, 3-6 to Sofie Merrick of Regis and 6-4, 2-6, 2-6 to Newman Catholic’s Ava Sukanen.

Antigo’s final sectional qualifier was Makayla Roberts in No. 4 singles. Starting out very slow, Roberts couldn’t get her bearings in her first match against Amery’s Lily Marquand, losing 3-6, 0-6.

Playing for third place, it looked like history would repeat itself as Roberts didn’t win a game in the first set against conference champion Reagan Herdrich of Newman.

But Roberts came storming back and didn’t drop a game in the second set.

With both players winning sets by 6-0 margins, the third was certainly a toss up.

Roberts proved the better player this time, avenging her loss to Herdrich in the GNC Conference final and winning 6-3.

“This girl has steadily improved mentally and in her tennis skills all season,” Zalewski said. “She was rewarded with a third place finish at sectionals.”

Kelly meanwhile, will now prepare for the State Meet, which is set for Thursday-Saturday, October 14-16 at Neilsen Stadium in Madison.

“This team has had a great season,” Zalewski added. “And now with Margo heading to State, this is just icing on the cake.”

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