Local Sports, Sports, University

Byers wins individual title as University girls claim OVAC 5A championship

Linsly wins 13th straight 1A-4A team title

GLEN DALE — Led by Lyla Byers, the University girls’ tennis team won the OVAC Class 5A Championship Tuesday at John Marshall High School

University edged past Morgantown 23-20 for the title as Byers. the No. 1 singles player, was the lone winner after the Hawks swept all three doubles crowns on Monday.

The W.Va. reigning state titlist, Byers is ranked No. 1 in the Mountain State. The senior rallied past Wheeling Park sophomore Madeline Bradshaw by an 8-5 count. Bradshaw held a 3-2 lead before Byers won five straight points to defend her title.

Wheeling Park’s Reese Moores, a junior, finished second at No. 3 singles to Morgantown’s Grace Forman, 8-4.

The Patriots finished third in the 8-team field with 17 points. Parkersburg South was fourth with six, followed by John Marshall (4), Brooke (3) and Steubenville (1).

The No. 13 is unlucky for some people. It wasn’t for the Linsly girls’ tennis team.

After posting just four points during the doubles competition on Monday, the Cadets added eight more on Tuesday in singles play to capture their 13th consecutive OVAC Class 1A-4A championship.

Leading Tuesday’s surge was junior Ava Bartlett who defended her title at No. 3 singles with an 8-5 win over University’s Brooklyn Rutledge.

“We were able to squeeze this one out,” said long-time head coach Dave Riethmiller, who announced recently that he is stepping down as head coach after 36 years. “We received points from all seven positions. It was truly a team effort.

“I’ve been blessed with a lot of very good tennis players,” he added when asked about the streak and 300-plus wins. “It’s such a joy to work with these girls.”

Reithemiller began coaching girls’ tennis at Linsly when the private school went co-ed in the 1988-89 school year. He’s been the only coach the program has ever had.

“It’s time,” he said of retiring. “It’s been a long, but enjoyable time.”

Bartlett trailed Rutledge 4-1 before storming back with six straight points for a 7-4 lead. They traded points to end the match.

Oak Glen finished second to Linsly in the 8-team field with eight points, one ahead of Hancock County rival Weir. Indian Creek, St. Clairsville, Steubenville Catholic and Wheeling Central all had one point.