Florence's Tristen Brunson a junior tennis player is returning to the state tennis tournament for the third straight year.

Herald/CATRINA RAWSON

FLORENCE — Not many girls singles players at the Class 2A level have the ability to hang in there with Florence’s Tristen Brunson, but she doesn’t have to look very far to find one who can.

Her biggest rival also happens to be someone with whom she’s trained.

After losing to Rogers’ Jaycie Talbot in the District 16-2A tournament, Brunson got some payback with a 6-0, 6-1 win in the Region II-2A tournament over the weekend.

“We go to the same club so we play each other all the time,” Brunson said. “We’ve played each other 10-12 times so we have a little district rivalry.”

For her performance in the regional tourmanent, Brunson was nominated for the Killeen Daily Herald’s Player of the Week. The Lady Buff stampeded the competition after garnering 63 percent (1,621) of the votes.

Brunson beat out Lampasas freshman catcher Kloe Corbin, Killeen distance runner Brittany Mitchell and Ellison distance runner Efrain Hernandez.

Not only did the regional win give her bragging rights, but it clinched a berth at state.

The match was played between two of the best tennis players in the state. Brunson and Talbot have one state title and two state final and two state semifinal appearances between them.

“I love the competitiveness we have in our matches,” Brunson said.

“It’s nice to have to work real hard for it because that makes the win better.”

The Florence junior has made a trip to state a spring ritual after winning the Class 2A girls singles state title as a freshman in 2012 and making it to the semifinals as a sophomore last year.

“It’s always exciting,” Brunson said about going to state.

“It’s not really nervousness, I just get excited. I don’t get nervous too much anymore.”

Corbin finished second with 931 votes (36 percent). Corbin was nominated after going 3 for 5 with seven RBIs in a 15-7 win over Burnet that sent Lampasas into the playoffs.

Hernandez was nominated after sweeping the boys 800 and 1,600-meter races at the District 7-5A/8-5A area meet to advance to the Region I-5A meet this weekend in Lubbock.

Mitchell won both the girls 1,600 and 3,200-meter races at the area meet to advance to the regional meet.

Contact Albert Alvarado at alvarado@kdhnews.com

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