McALESTER — McAlester’s tennis squads have become mainstays of the annual Class 5A tournament ever since Chad Waller took over the program eight years ago.
This season’s Lady Buffaloes will be no exception, finishing runner-up at Monday’s regional tournament at Cascia Hall in Tulsa and qualifying their entire team to today’s state tournament in Oklahoma City.
“We’ve got a shot to place in every spot,” Waller said Wednesday.
“I feel like we’re going to have a real good showing at State this year.”
One-singles player Krystal Hixson led the Lady Buffs, blanking Tahlequah’s Cheyene Marshall in the first round, 6-0, 6-0. She beat Piedmont’s Logyn Williams in the semifinal, 6-3, 6-4, then lost in the championship to Cascia Hall’s Peyton Jennings, 6-1, 6-2.
“I could’ve played better in the first set, definitely,” Hixson said of her championship game Tuesday.
“When my mind’s right, then my serves are good and I’m confident in my strokes.”
Hixson battled illness throughout the 2013 postseason, but this season she’s remained healthy.
“Krystal’s got like the top-notch spot,” teammate Jennifer Amy said. “She’s ready for it”
McAlester placed third in the other three divisions at Regionals, scoring 25 points overall to finish second. Cascia Hall — a team Waller expects to win the state championship — won all four divisions and the tournament with 36 points, and Grove finished third with 22.
In two-singles, McAlester’s Preziosita Crawford shut out Tulsa-East Central’s Melanie Graziano in the first round, 6-0, 6-0. She lost 6-2, 6-1 to Piedmont’s Nicole Hacker in the semifinals, then beat Tahlequah’s Chase Brose, 6-0, 6-0.
Crawford finished the tournament by beating Grove’s Tori Lee in the third-place game, 6-2, 6-1. She called Hacker “one of my kryptonites.”
“She’s a pusher, and pushers get every ball back, no matter how hard or how good of a shot it was,” Crawford said.