King, Blanchard are perfect mix—again

Mixed doubles duo make third trip to state
BY BILL MARTIN
Reporter Sports Editor


Freshman district champion Devon Whitsel fell in the quarterfinals round at regionals in boys singles. 
Reporter/Bill Martin Freshman district champion Devon Whitsel fell in the quarterfinals round at regionals in boys singles. Reporter/Bill Martin COLLEGE STATION— There’s something about tennis that attracts rain clouds this time of year.

While things were moving along smoothly Monday afternoon under sunny skies, the darkness converged on unsuspecting participants on the opening day of the Class 3A Region III tennis tournament at A&M Consolidated.

When the clouds cleared, Blake King and Erin Blanchard took the opportunity to blow away the opposition and earned their third straight trip to the UIL state tournament.

The state tourney is scheduled for May 18-19 at the George Mitchell Tennis Center right down the road on the campus of Texas A&M.

Three-time defending regional champions King and Blanchard—both seniors—claimed a silver medal at last year’s state tournament.

The dynamic duo easily disposed of Cameron Coker and Lyndsey Kinard of Woodville 6-4, 6-0 in the finals.


Clockwise from above, Ben Blanchard and his partner Pedro Salcedo earned a third place finish in boys doubles. At the top, Reyna Gonzalez was also third in girls singles. Above, Erin Blanchard and her partner will head to state for the third time. Clockwise from above, Ben Blanchard and his partner Pedro Salcedo earned a third place finish in boys doubles. At the top, Reyna Gonzalez was also third in girls singles. Above, Erin Blanchard and her partner will head to state for the third time. The Tiger twosome were hardly troubled throughout the regionals, defeating Toryn Cox and Caden Cox of Leon 6-2, 6-2; Parker Franks and Jerry Van Zuuk of Rice 6-0, 6-1 and Bern Cunningham and Mikah Boyd of Kirbyville 6-0, 6-2 in the opening round.

King and Blanchard were on the court against the Rice duo of Franks and Van Zuuk when the tournament was called off for the day.

The Tigers second mixed doubles team of David Franklin and Reyan Henderson were knocked out in the second round by Eddie Slaughter and Raven Stegall of Kirbyville 7-5, 6-1.


Reporter photos/Bill Martin Reporter photos/Bill Martin Franklin and Henderson had defeated Hugo Huichapa and Addie Shastid of Bloomington 6-2, 7-5 in the first round.

Six quarterfinal matches in girls’ doubles and mixed doubles resumed early Tuesday morning.

Ben Blanchard teamed with Pedro Salcedo to rally for a third place finish after sitting down East Bernard’s Travis Cook and Joshua Mica, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.

The team recorded a 6-3, 6-2, win over the Kountze team of William Williford and Skyler Mordente in the second round.

It was Ben Blanchard’s third appearance at regionals. He made it to state in 2015 as a singles player and was district champ last year.

Reyna Gonzalez also finished third after whipping district rival Houston Harris of Cameron 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 in another marathon match.

It was a payback of sorts as Harris had defeated Gonzalez for the district championship last week.

The sophomore Gonzalez eased into the semifinals with her 6-1, 6-2 win over Maypearl’s Lauren Hammonds.

Rockdale’s 20-3A boys singles champion, freshman Devon Whitsel, lost to Rice Consolidated’s Simuel Nezer, 6-0, 6-0 in the quarterfinal round.

Whitsel breezed through the district tournament without losing a set or match and was the third seed in the regional pairings.

Whitsel had disposed of Jaker Jackson of Trinity 6-0, 6-0 in the first round.


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