Anne Snyders, Jersey tennis coach Stote Reeder and Ashton Tewell.

Jersey’s doubles tandem of juniors Anne Snyders and Ashton Tewell battled valiantly on their way to a third-place Alton Sectional doubles finish and qualification to the IHSA state tennis meet.

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The state meet begins today. Jersey coach Stote Reeder said what separates his tennis girls from the rest is their athleticism. He said that often makes up for the girls playing other sports and not making it their only focus year-round. Many state tennis qualifiers do play throughout the year, the coach said, which gives them an advantage.

The Jersey girls upset Highland's and Roxana's doubles combinations in their first matches of the Alton Sectional.  The Jersey combination lost in the semifinals to Edwardsville’s two girls then to Alton Marquette’s girls for third place, but qualified as a fourth-place finisher.

“I am excited for the girls to play at state,” Reeder said. “The girls kept fighting and picked each other up in the sectional."

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Reeder was also pleased with the Panthers' overall team effort in a competitive tennis sectional. Edwardsville won the team competition in the Alton tennis sectional with 36 points, while Jersey tied with Alton Marquette with 17 points for second. Anne Snyders and Tewell are only the third group of girls to qualify for state in Reeder’s seven years as tennis coach. Danah McCreary and Kelsee Nairn qualified together and Ellen Snyders and Tewell advanced as a doubles team last year. Ellen Snyders and Tewell were 2-2 at state last year.

Anne Snyders is also a strong track athlete, while Tewell is a basketball star and has been a track athlete.

Next year, the IHSA will change the tennis system to two classes, one for large schools and small schools and Reeder said he believes that makes sense.

“I don’t see Metro East Lutheran playing Edwardsville as fair, but tennis is an individual sport,” he said. “Dividing it into two classes will help.”

Both Anne Snyders and Tewell return next year and Reeder said he likes their chances of making another state run in 2016.

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