Tristen Brunson had some near misses during her Class 2A state semifinals match with defending state champion Carrie Casey. But when you get that far, small things cost you big. 

Brunson’s season ended with a loss to the Franklin High senior at Texas A&M’s Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station on Monday.

“She’s such a good player and she’s so smart,” Brunson said about Casey. “In the second set, I just broke down and she just got everything back. I didn’t play as good in that set.”

Brunson lost to Casey in the state semifinals last year.

Casey advanced to play Rogers’ Jaycie Talbot for the state title today.

Brunson was shooting for her second Class 2A girls singles state championship this week and started the day with a straight-sets win over Marion’s Karli Raggio before falling to Casey 6-3, 6-0.

“That girl’s an excellent player and Tristen’s a great player, too,” Florence tennis coach Drake Stanczak said. “She battled her and sometimes it’s just a matter of losing a critical point here or there that can really turn a match, and that’s kind of what happened in the first set.”

Despite the loss, Brunson said she was proud of her accomplishment given the fact she played in three postseason tournaments with tears in both Achilles tendons and lost to a player that was shooting for her fourth state title.

“I didn’t even know if I was going to play in the district tournament,” Brunson said. “It really is a blessing to be able to have gotten this far.”

Brunson’s injuries need rest to heal and she will try to make it four straight state tournament appearances next year as a senior. She will likely be the favorite to win it all since both Talbot and Casey will graduate this year.

Brunson won the Class 2A girls singles state championship as a freshman in 2012.

Contact Albert Alvarado at

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