High School Sports

No trouble for Beaufort girls in first round

Marian Hohenwarter, Beaufort High School's No. 1 player, returns a volley against North Augusta’s Taylor Elam during the first round of the Class 4-A state tennis playoffs on Tuesday afternoon at Beaufort High School.
Marian Hohenwarter, Beaufort High School's No. 1 player, returns a volley against North Augusta’s Taylor Elam during the first round of the Class 4-A state tennis playoffs on Tuesday afternoon at Beaufort High School. Bob Sofaly | The Beaufort Gazette

The temptation presents itself in matches like these, with cruise control on and a seemingly inferior opponent on the other side of the net.

For Beaufort High School's tennis team, winner of five consecutive region championships, a first-round Class 4-A playoff victory has become somewhat of a formality. And so the Eagles have to fight the urge to shut down, to fall into a rhythm and lose focus during their strokes.

"You think it's easy, but then you lose a point," said Chelsea Bellomy, Beaufort High's No. 2 singles player. "And you're like, 'Oh, wait.' You just have to be on top of it."

The Eagles maintained a strong mentality Tuesday, strong enough to defeat North Augusta, 6-0. Beaufort High, the top seed from Region 8-AAAA, advances to play host to Sumter on Thursday.

The early rounds have gone smoothly for Beaufort High in recent years. It's generally the Lower State semifinals -- a third-round matchup against Lexington or Dutch Fork -- where the Eagles run into trouble.

A victory Thursday would give Beaufort High another shot. The Eagles likely would host Lexington for a chance to go to the Lower State final.

But first, Sumter.

"We always want to stay focused for every match," said Beaufort High senior Marian Hohenwarter, who plays at No. 1. "I've been working on particular shots. Especially if we suspect an easier match, it's always a great time to practice and work on your game for tougher matches."

Though members of Beaufort High's girls team play year-round, the area doesn't boast some of the youth programs found in some other areas of the state, Eagles coach David Riedmayer said. His solution has been to try to condition his team to be in better shape than its opponents.

The Eagles perform a variety of conditioning and weight exercises during practice in order to help maintain their legs during a tough match.

"We out-condition everybody," Riedmayer said. "You can kind of tell when you see us and see (another team). We're in much better shape."

None of the Eagles' matches Tuesday proved too draining. Hohenwarter dropped only one game and Bellomy won in straight sets. Beaufort High's doubles team of Kelsey Butler and Addie Everidge also only dropped one game.

The Eagles expect a tougher test Thursday.

"They know what's coming up," Riedmayer said. "Every match is going to get tougher and tougher. Hopefully, this next match we'll be able to play exactly the same way."

Beaufort High 6, North Augusta 0

Singles: No. 1 -- Marian Hohenwarter (B) def. Taylor Elam 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 -- Chelsea Bellomy (B) def. Brooke Busby 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 -- Charlotte Bellomy (B) def. Macie Whatley 6-2, 6-2; No. 4 -- Morgan McNeal (B) def. Karian Kelly 6-1, 6-3; No. 5 -- Shaye McHulliffe (B) def. Logan Smith 6-1, 6-0

Doubles: Butler/Everidge (B) def. Flanders/Speaker 6-0, 6-1.

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