Sore elbow cuts short Hampton’s state stay
Just when Lauren Hampton was on top of her game and in the spotlight, an old injury reared its ugly head.
The Wildcat sophomore No. 1 singles player was taking part in her fourth match when a recurring case of tennis elbow ended her run at the 4A state tennis tournament last Friday and Saturday in Pratt. Trailing 7-2 and struggling to just hold onto her racket, Hampton was forced to walk away from her first berth to the post-season tournament.
"All I could think about was that I needed to finish the match," Hampton said. "I don't deserve to lose this way, I thought. If I'm going to lose, I want to do it by trying my hardest and competing to win."
Before she aggravated the injury, Hampton won two of three matches.
She jumped out on top of Pratt's Christina Roberts in the first set and forced her to play catch up before winning 6-4. In the second set, Hampton forged out to a 5-2 advantage before Roberts rallied to tie the score at 6-6. The Wildcat then took the tiebreaker 7-5, winning the match.
"I just calmed down and played my game," Hampton said. "I have at times played down to their (opponent) level. I just told myself to stay with it."
Her second match against Chapman's Jenna Murphy ended in a 0-6, 6-4, 6-1 loss.
In the first set, Hampton was playing well. In fact, she had an extra hop in her step during the 6-0 first game win. But a scoring dispute frustrated and disrupted Hampton's concentration during the rest of the match.
"I was serving when I told her (Murphy) the score was 30-40," Hampton said. "But she argued that it was game. We discussed the score for a while before I gave the point away."
Hampton admitted that the argument upset her and disrupted her tempo.
"I didn't play my best because of it," she said.
Hampton gathered herself well enough to finish Friday's competition with a 9-5 win over Topeka Hayden's Katherine Olson in a quarterfinal back draw match. The win avenged a loss Hampton suffered at the Baldwin Invitational earlier in the year.
"I was pretty upset after the loss," Hampton said. "I had to tell myself that I could win. I wanted to beat her so badly."
Hampton said her ground strokes were better than the last match and she had the ability to bring her opponent to the net during her second win of the tournament. Her problems then began on Saturday when she had to walk away from the match with Marysville's Chelsea Blumer after falling behind 7-2.
Hampton, who finished the season with a 33-5 record, also defaulted to Colby's Katie Lang in the seventh-place match to end her playing experience at the meet.
Hampton's success helped her capture an 11th-place finish for the Wildcats at the meet after she tallied five team points.
Wichita Collegiate captured the state championship when they edged Parsons 38-28. Marysville, El Dorado and Independence all tallied 16 points each.