Paige Lewison

Baraboo sophomore Paige Lewison lunges to make a play at the net during the No. 1 doubles match in a Badger North Conference dual against Sauk Prairie on Sept. 16 at Baraboo High School.

The Baraboo prep girls tennis team is back at the sectional level after a two-year absence.

The Thunderbirds will send two doubles teams to Thursday’s WIAA Division 1 sectional meet at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison, thanks to a strong showing at Monday’s La Crosse Central subsectional.

“That was our goal,” Baraboo coach Karll Kruse said, noting that the T-Birds’ doubles teams have been strong all season. “We had to adjust some things and luckily we had some kids who stepped up in practice. But our No. 1 and No. 3 doubles were intact.”

Paige Lewison and Lanie Koppie advanced at No. 1 doubles, while Claire Bildsten and Maggie Cleary qualified at No. 3 doubles. All four sophomores will be making their first sectional appearance, as they’re the first T-Birds to reach sectionals since Emily Kieck and Hannah Baun played doubles together in 2016.

“It’s nice to get back on the board and get back there,” Kruse said of returning to sectionals.

Lewison and Koppie had one match to win Monday. They did so in convincing fashion, claiming a 6-2, 6-3 win over Holmen’s Rayna Baumgarn and Cindra Vang. The Baraboo duo is seeded second and will take on third-seeded Jessica Pientka and Noor Rajpal, of Middleton, in the first round Thursday.

Lewison and Koppie are one of eight No. 1 doubles teams remaining. The top four will earn a trip to the individual state meet Oct. 17-19 at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

Bildsten and Cleary, seeded fifth in the field, started subsectionals with a 6-2, 6-4 win over the No. 4 seed, Onalaska’s Cierra Butler and Ashley Dale. The T-Birds then upset the top seed — La Crosse Central’s Ella Lysne and Sienna Torgerud — 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinals. Bildsten and Cleary are guaranteed two sectional matches, starting with Waunakee's Danielle Rogers and Jadyn Statz.

“They played some (flight) three doubles during the year, but they are just kind of coming on strong and they played really well today,” Kruse said of Bildsten and Cleary.

Jillian Shanks and Kim Jacome, a newly formed doubles team, received a first-round bye before losing a 6-4, 6-3 match to La Crosse Central’s Ruby Blake and Maddie Masewicz in the quarterfinals.

Baraboo picked up two wins in singles play.

Rachel Walter notched a 6-4, 6-1 win over Reedsburg senior Hayden Stovey in the first round at No. 1 singles. The senior went on to drop a 6-0, 6-0 match to Onalaska’s Alli Laux, the No. 1 seed, in the quarterfinals.

Kelsey Gasser earned a 6-3, 6-3 win over Reedsburg sophomore Emily Wood at No. 4 singles. She ran into the top seed in the quarterfinals, suffering a 6-0, 6-0 quarterfinal loss to La Crosse Logan’s Tatyana Roberts.

“Both (Walter and Gasser) got a win,” Kruse said. “That was nice. They don’t count for points, but we were able to get wins.”

Sophomore Alice Davies received a first-round bye at No. 2 singles before suffering a 6-3, 6-1 loss to La Crosse Logan junior Tia Endrizzi in the quarterfinals.

After a first-round bye at No. 3 singles, junior Anya Carlson-Edwards was eliminated with a 6-0, 6-0 quarterfinal loss to La Crosse Logan sophomore Sydney Roswall.

Follow Brock Fritz on Twitter @BrockFritz

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