Effingham Daily News
Over the years, the Teutopolis Wooden Shoes' presence at the Illinois state tennis tournament has grown.
Teutopolis sent a lone doubles team for three straight seasons from 2009 to 2011, and last year added a singles player to their usual doubles team.
Today, the Wooden Shoes send five players to metro-Chicago for the state tournament. Holley Wright advances as the Effingham Sectional singles champ, while the teams of Elena Breer and Allison Vogt, and Taylor Deters and Ashley Hemmen advanced in doubles play.
St. Anthony's Jenny Walters also advanced from sectionals after finishing third in singles.
Breer is the veteran of the group, playing singles last season at state and as part of a doubles team in 2011. Breer went 1-2 last year at state, winning a consolation bracket match in between two losses, while weather in 2011 only allowed Breer to play one match, a loss.
"I did a lot better last year than I did as a sophomore," Breer said. "I'm hoping to take that experience and expand on it."
Now, the singles designation falls to Wright. She was crowned sectional champion in singles play, which coach Kaye Kimpling said may have been the first time a Wooden Shoes players has won that tournament. If it wasn't, it's been at least 30 years since, Kimpling said.
The Teutopolis senior recognized what an honor it was for her and the school and was proud of the accomplishment heading up to state. Wright entered sectionals as the second seed in singles but made her way through the entire bracket.
"It's really exciting, I really worked hard for it, I guess I earned it," Wright said. "I'm hoping to perform well up there, hoping to play some challenging opponents.
"I like playing people who are better than me, it makes me a better tennis player."
Vogt also competed at last year's state tournament in doubles play, and will again this time with Breer. Vogt and Cheyenne Leuken went 1-2 last year as well. Deters and Hemmen have never been to state but had a very strong season among the local doubles scene.
For the Shoes' coach , the Teutopolis program taking steps forward is a huge accomplishment.
"It feels great, it's kind of a coach's dream to win the sectionals and have girls go to the state tournament. It's what we work for," Kimpling said. "It's possible we can win at least a round, which is an accomplishment up there."
Play begins early this morning. Wright faces Hampshire sophomore Hannah Houghland in Arlington heights. St. Anthony's Jenny Walters faces New Lenox Providence Catholic's Hannah Davis in Barrington.
In doubles play, Deters and Hemmen face Moline seniors Alyssa Ray and Molly McPherson in Buffalo Grove, while Breer and Vogt face Quincy seniors Sarah Boyd and Delaney O'Donnell at Rolling Meadows.
The Shoes are looking to make some waves, but players like Wright understand what the weekend can be about regardless of results.
"It's mostly a lot of fun," she said. "You get to play some amazing people up in state, it's fun to play amazing people, good time with friends and the rest of the team."