Despite strong individual play, no Festus Tigers will advance past districts this season. Saturday, the Class 1, District 2 individual tournament was held at Windsor High School. Six schools participated.
In singles play, Michael Esparza (11) was the second seed, and teammate Erica Fletcher (11) was the #4 seed which gave them byes in the first round. In the quarterfinals, Esparza defeated Caleb Boyer from Potosi, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, and Fletcher beat Brandon Bowen of Windsor, 6-3, 6-1.
Moving to the semifinals, neither player could overcome opponents from St. Pius. Esparza lost to Robert Vance, 6-3, 6-2, and Fletcher was defeated by Luke Klahs, 6-4, 6-0. That made it impossible for either player to advance to the sectionals, and set up a unique third place match up between the two teammates.
Esparza won the third place match 8-5, and both Tigers congratulated each other with a hug at the net.
In doubles play, Ryan Esparza (9) and Julia Meyers (10) entered play as the #4 seed, earning a bye. In the first round, Carter Bowman (11) and Broxtyn Johnson (11) fell in a tough match to Blake Dobey and Paul Borrego of St. Pius, 6-4, 6-3.
In the quarterfinals, Esparza and Meyers fought through a tough three-set match, but came out on the losing end, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, to Gabe Adams and Eli Hampton of Potosi.
The Tigers had a very young squad this season, losing just one senior off the roster. Festus will come back with a very experienced team next season.