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Three SLO players headed to state

By Staff | May 21, 2010

SPENCER – Spirit Lake-Okoboji juniors Alli Gerking and Aubry Kolegraff are returning to the 2010 state meet after winning the regional doubles championship on Thursday.

Freshman KJ Veldman will join the duo at the state tournament after winning the regional singles title.

“KJ Veldman qualifying as a freshman is an unbelievable accomplishment,” said SLO coach Bob O’Hara. “I think this shows what KJ is capable of and how dangerous she be in the coming years. I don’t know if a freshman has ever won the regional singles draw let alone a freshman who plays No. 5 on her team.”

Beldman opened the day with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Storm Lake’s Brooke Gaffney then beat Denison-Schleswig’s kristen Alesch 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the quarterfinals before downing Heelan’s Katherine Merritt, 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinals. In the finals, she faced a Lakes Conference foe in Natalie Miller and won 6-4, 6-2.

Gerking and Kolegraff were the top seeds.

“Once again Alli and Aubry played well,” said O’Hara. “They’re really clicking right now and have the ability to take opponents out of their game. It’s going to be fun to see how far they can go down at state.”

Gerking and Kolegraff started the day blanking their first two opponents, LeMars’ Carolyn Ahlers and Molly Fischer and Spencer’s Abby Bedore and Grace Toale. They then beat Bishop Heelan’s Elizabeth Heffernan and Katy Youngblood 6-1, 6-0. In the finals, they met up with Estherville Lincoln Central’s Erin Olson and Kaylene Vos, winning 6-2, 6-1.

In the other doubles, Shirley Coenen and Jamie Kohlhaase started the day with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Cherokee’s Hillary Wilkie and Taylor Meyerhofer and then beat Storm Lake’s Amanda Kavan and Samantha Kavan 6-0, 6-2 before losing to ELC’s Olson and Vos 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

In the third-place match, they came back to beat Heelan’s Heffernan and Youngblade 11-10 (7-5).

In singles, Hannah Coenen won her first match with a 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5) win over Denison-Schleswig’s Karina Ibarra and then lost to Heelan’s Sam Dailey 6-2, 6-0.

Veldman, Gerking and Kolegraff will travel the state meet in Des Moines, June 3-4.