LEWISTON — Kyleigh Letourneau was rushing through the early stages of her Region 4 tennis singles qualifier match at Bates College’s Merrill Gym on Saturday, and it was no mystery why.
“I have prom after this, so I think my mentality was, ‘OK, the faster you’re done, the faster you get to go home,’” the Lewiston junior said. “Then, I was like, ‘Wait, I should probably relax and win my match first.’”
Letourneau did just that, and fairly easily, once she slowed the pace down. She became one of eight from the region to qualify for the state singles tournament.
She joins top seed Bethany Hammond and Callie Greco of St. Dominic in Auburn, Taylor Boynton of Spruce Mountain in Jay, and Mt. Blue of Farmington’s Alyssa White and Eryn Doiron as players to earn spots in the field of 48, scheduled for May 30 at Colby College.
The Blue Devils’ No. 2 singles player, Letourneau fell behind early in her final match with Maranacook’s Caroline Clark. But a chat with Lewiston coach Anita Murphy helped her calm down, set a more deliberate pace and win the match, 6-1, 6-1.
“I always have a couple of unforced errors, and that’s me just getting out of rhythm. But for the most part, I think I dialed in pretty well,” Letourneau said.
Letourneau wasn’t the only one who had to set her evening plans aside. White and Doiron also had their prom Saturday night, but both made quick work of their final-round opponents without losing a game.
White, a senior, attended tennis camps and took private lessons to make the most of her first year as a singles player for the Cougars.
“It feels really good. I definitely worked hard for it,” White said. “I wanted to improve on my own strokes and get as far as I can. Even just being seeded [sixth] felt really great.”
Doiron was one of three unseeded players to qualify, along with Greco and Hall-Dale’s Nicole Pelletier. Doiron pulled out an 8-6 win over Lisbon’s Nichole Jones in the first round to advance.
“She had the same thing. She had to win quickly because she had a hair appointment an hour before Alyssa,” Mt. Blue coach Judy Upham said. “She’s very solid, very steady. She’s a sophomore, and this is her first year playing singles, so it takes her a little bit of time to figure out an opponent.”
Hammond defeated Winthrop’s Megan Chamberlain, 6-0, 6-1 to secure her spot. Greco was locked in a tight contest with Lewiston’s Maddie Roy, 6-4, 3-1, before Roy had to retire with a leg injury. Boynton knocked out Madison’s Emily Knox, 6-0, 6-1.
Clio Barr of Hall-Dale in Farmingdale rounded out the field.
The boys qualifier is scheduled for Tuesday at Lewiston High School.