Wildcat girls reclaim regional championship

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Jasper senior Josie Yarbrough serves to senior Bella Thorne of Washington in Wednesday’s regional final. Yarbrough won her one singles match, 6-0, 6-2 and Jasper swept Washington, 5-0, for the championship.


Most of Jasper’s current girls tennis team wasn’t around two years ago when Washington denied Jasper an eighth straight regional championship in 2019, but Josie Yarbrough was.

The senior one singles player for the Wildcats made it to state in doubles that year with Suchi Bandaru, but the team loss to Washington was one she remembered well.

Yarbrough put it that it felt, “Really, really, really good” to clinch Wednesday’s team regional championship, having bested Washington, 5-0. She thought this win might even be better than some of the semi-state wins she’s had, and she made sure to give a speech to her teammates about this one.

“I was just reminding everyone like, ‘Hey, we did lose to Washington two years ago,’ ” Yarbrough said. “’I know a lot of you, because of COVID, weren’t around. We didn’t get the chance to get them last year because of COVID, so let’s get them now and get it done for sure.’ ”

Josie’s father, Jasper coach Scott Yarbrough, said Josie must’ve given the speech about 10 minutes before the Wildcats walked out on the court. Scott didn’t listen hear it or listen to it, though, but loves the leader that she has become.

“I couldn’t more proud of the way that she’s handled herself and handled this team along with the other seniors,” Scott said. “She’s done such a great job.”

Josie enjoyed a 6-0, 6-2 win over Hatchets senior Bella Thorne in the one singles match, and her was the clincher after sophomore Brynne Brosmer and freshman Paige Giesler handled Washington seniors Kenzie Knepp and Adalyn McMurray in the two doubles, and sophomore Ally Wigand took down Washington junior Kenli Barber in the three singles, 6-1, 6-0.

One match that proved to be challenging for Jasper was the two singles. Sophomore Allie Schnarr looked at a 5-4 deficit in the first set before claiming a 7-5, 6-2 win against Washington junior Alaina Thorne.

“I told Allie early in the match it wasn’t anything she was particularly doing wrong, we just weren’t finishing points off the way we wanted to,” Scott said.

Yet, when Schnarr broke off her serve for the 5-5 tie and, he felt like she got settled into place and took over from there.

Jasper has won 11 semi-state championships in girls tennis, with the last one coming in 2018. The Wildcats are set to take on either Floyd Central or New Albany for semi-state at home on Saturday.

Scott said the Wildcats will fine tune things, with nothing fancy, for Saturday. The Wildcats will work on serves and volleys. He added the worst part of all of this is graduation is situated in the middle of all of this, as his eighth grade daughter, Kate, graduates today, while high school graduates Friday.

“We’ll get in, get out and have some good practices and make it sweet and just keep everything fine tuned for Saturday,” Scott said.

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