Young Osage players gain valuable experience

It was a great finish to the first week of the season for Camdenton.

After dropping the season opener to Kickapoo on Tuesday and having a match against Lebanon be rained out the following day, the Lakers decided to go out and win a tournament title at Waynesville.

Haley Hultz finished second for Camdenton in the top singles bracket while Victoria Watson won her division in the second tier. The top doubles team of Kaitelyn Bergstraom and Safina Ernst placed fourth in their division and the second doubles team of Eli Borbe and Katelyn McGuire earned second. It is a senior-lead group and Coach Kirk Richey is proud of this bunch.

“They worked really hard the past four years to accomplish something like that,” Richey said of the title. “Coach (Ted) Houx and I are really proud of them and it will be a hard group to replace.”

School of the Osage started its season with a 7-2 win at Boonville on Thursday as Marley Corpe, Megan Smithson, Madison Butt, Glory Nimmo and Caroline Raback all won their singles matches while Butt and Nimmo also secured a doubles victory, but the Indians did not place at Waynesville Friday. The top three players for Osage were unavailable due to injuries or COVID quarantine so a few younger players stepped up and got some of their first varsity action among the five players who were available on Friday.

“They got better and it was an opportunity to learn. The kids competed well,” said Osage coach Ann Gulshen, the longtime former volleyball coach at Eldon and Camdenton who is in her first season coaching tennis for the Indians. “We had some who had never played a varsity tournament before and they stepped up. We will use the experience to keep improving and I’m real proud of the way they are taking opportunities, learning and growing.”

Osage (1-0) was scheduled to host Waynesville Tuesday and will host Smith-Cotton on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Camdenton (0-1) will host Waynesville and West Plains on Thursday, starting at noon.