It didn’t matter to the duo in the end, however. The doubles partners teamed up to do what they’ve been doing for the past two seasons.
Reed and Jenkins moved rapidly through their doubles match, dispatching Radford’s Gracie Blackwell and Lily Weschke 6-1, 6-0 to seal the Lady Blue Devils’ 5-2 win over Radford on Monday in the state semifinals at Radford University.
The win, coupled with singles victories by Amelia Jennings, Reed, Madison Parks and Lacy Dishner, gave Gate City (19-1) its 15th trip to the state championship.
On Saturday at 10 a.m. at Radford University, Gate City will play Maggie Walker for the Class 2 title. The defending state champions eliminated Central Woodstock 5-0 in the other Class 2 semifinal.
KEEPING THE TRADITION ALIVE
The Lady Blue Devils have won 10 state titles, including three in a row from 2014-16. Reed, one of three seniors on this year’s squad, was a freshman on their most recent championship team.
The Lady Blue Devils were close to returning to the state final the past couple of years but came up short.
Reed was thrilled to meet a major goal in her final season playing for Gate City.
“It’s huge for me because it’s my senior year and that’s all I’ve ever wanted,” she said. “We were working hard the entire week and we knew it was going to be a tough match. But we pulled through and I’m pretty proud of us.”
Jenkins said partnering with Reed for back-to-back seasons has helped them be a stronger team.
“We’re really comfortable with each other and it helps to have good chemistry,” said Jenkins, who is eager for her first trip to the state final.
“I’m excited. It’s a big deal and I’m really excited,” she said. “Radford is a good team and I’m glad we all pulled through.”
TAKING NOTHING FOR GRANTED
Despite Gate City’s state championship history, coach Delonda Spivey said each year is different and presents its own challenges.
“That never gets old,” Spivey said of advancing to the state championship. “It always feels good to the see the younger girls having the older girls to lead them to their goals and they work hard to get here every year.
“You know, people tend to say it’s just expected. It’s never just expected. It’s always worked for, it’s always earned. I don’t want to ever take away the hard work that every set of girls put in.
“At the beginning of the season they come out and they put in the time and they know pretty much which teams are ahead that are going to push them and they get prepared and they do their jobs,” the coach added. “And I’m very proud of them.”
RACKING UP WINS
Radford’s singles wins came at No. 1, Kathleen Reuwer defeating Sarah Arnold 6-0, 6-1, and No. 2, Harper Minarik topping Jenkins 6-4, 6-4.
The rest of the victories belonged to Gate City and all were in straight sets.
Jennings defeated Blackwell 6-1, 6-0; Reed beat Weschke 6-0, 6-1; Parks took a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Sophie Graham and Dishner defeated Ragan Hale 6-0, 6-3.
VHSL Class 2 Semifinals
at Radford University
Gate City 5, Radford 2
Kathleen Reuwer (R) def. Sarah Arnold 6-0, 6-1
Harper Minarik (R) def. Kaley Jenkins 6-4, 6-4
Amelia Jennings (GC) def. Gracie Blackwell 6-1, 6-0
Sydney Reed (GC) def. Lily Weschke 6-0, 6-1
Madison Parks (GC) def. Sophie Graham 6-2, 6-2
Lacy Dishner (GC) def. Ragan Hale 6-0, 6-3
Jenkins/Reed (GC) def. Blackwell/Weschke 6-1, 6-0