Lei leads Indians’ tennis in Topeka

By Gregg Eyestone

Catherine Lei has been a nice surprise for Manhattan girls’ tennis coach Joyce Allen this season.

The freshman continues to be one of the Indians’ top competitors, taking third at No. 2 singles in the Topeka West Invitational at the Kossover Tennis Complex Tuesday to bring home the team’s top medal.

“Cathy Lei had a really good day, so that was great,” Allen said. “And because she was seeded, she had a first-round bye. She had a good day and I was really pleased for her.”

Lei went 2-1 on the day to earn the medal and lead the Indians, who took sixth in the tournament out of 10 teams.

Blue Valley Stilwell took first place, with Washburn Rural, Salina Central, Topeka West and Blue Valley West rounding out the top five.

“We saw some tough competition,” Allen said. “The two schools from the Kansas City area are tough, and (Salina) Central which is a big 5A powerhouse. And of course Rural, so it’s been a tough couple of days but I’m proud of the way the girls played.”

At No. 1 singles, Kristen Fraley continues to come back from an injury that slowed her down the last couple weeks, but competed well on the day, going 2-2 and taking sixth.

“I think Kristen is closer, but I don’t know that she’s 100 percent,” Allen said. “She played her little heart out today. So maybe she is.”

In doubles, the No. 1 pairing of Kaitlin Wichmann and Caroline Sager went 1-3 on the day to take eighth place, but won their first match to earn a spot in the winner’s side of the bracket.

At No. 2 doubles, Cat Colburn and Claire Freeby went 1-2 and took 11th place.

“I really think we played okay,” she said. “We had a couple close matches that maybe we could have won, but basically I feel like everybody did the best job that they could.”

The tennis season is rapidly winding down. Manhattan hosts a home quad Saturday, then travels to Washburn Rural for the league meet on Monday. The following Saturday is regionals.

“We’ve had a busy week and it’s been a grueling two days, back-to-back for a couple girls,” she said. “We’re looking forward to a little rest before our home quad this weekend.”

The quad begins at 9 a.m. at City Park.

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