By Nick Talbot and Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
Ashee Brunson has gone out on her own.
The Florence senior, who has gone to state the past two seasons as a doubles player, begins her quest for a third state appearance Wednesday at the District 27-2A tennis meet at Nolanville's Pelotan Ridge Country Club.
This time, though, she does it as a singles player.
Brunson is the district tournament's No. 1 seed and has not dropped a set all season.
"She has been real dominant," said Florence coach Drake Stanczak. "There are a lot of other players that could win other districts, but she is head and shoulders above the rest.
"That said, she will have to bring her 'A' game if she wants to take care of business."
Her former doubles partner, Kasey Button, is the No. 2 seed in mixed doubles along with her partner Manuel Ramirez. Marshall Brown and Ashley Peterson will also compete for Florence in mixed doubles and are the No. 4 seed.
Also trying to return to the state tournament will be the boys doubles team of Nick Baker and Daniel Taylor. They are also seeded No. 1 in the district tournament.
"They play really well together," Stanczak said. "Last week they played the team that is actually seeded No. 2 and were taken to three sets.
"They played poorly in the opening set, but they had enough confidence in each other to be able to come back and win."
Shane Schober and Josh Browning will also compete in the boys doubles division.
Also a No. 1 seed for the Buffaloes is the team of Paige DeLeon and Lauren Michalka, who are competing in girls doubles. The team of Tara Hughey and Madison Odom will also vie for the doubles title.
Matt Mellette is Florence's lone entry in the boys singles competition.
Play finishes Thursday.
Salado girls golf team begins journey for repeat
The Salado girls golf team is hoping its Class 2A success
carries over to 3A when it enters postseason play at the District 25-3A tournament today.
The first round of 25-3A play begins today at Llano River Golf Course in Llano, while the second round will be played Tuesday at Mill Creek Country Club in Salado.
The Lady Eagles, who won the 2A state championship by 31 strokes last May, are led by senior Taylor O'Rear, who finished fifth overall at state with a two-day total of 163 (82-81). Joining O'Rear are returners in junior Leah Ray and sophomore Meredith Ward, along with freshman Kathryn Crouch.
After missing out on the state tournament last season after back-to-back state championships the prior two years, the Salado boys return with potential thanks to talented freshmen Dane Hankamer and Kyle Heiner to pair with senior Cole Brentham and junior Koby Spears.
Lady Tigers' soccer playoff match set
The road doesn't get much harder or longer than Belton's.
The Lady Tigers path to a second straight trip to the regional tournament goes through the No. 2 team in the nation, McKinney Boyd.
Belton will face the Lady Broncos, who were the state runners-up last year and are ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 2 nationally by ESPN RISE, in a girls Class 5A Region II quarterfinal playoff match at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Midlothian's MISD Multi-Sport Stadium.
Belton (22-2-1) is ranked No. 30 by ESPN RISE and earned its quarterfinal spot with a 1-0 win over Rowlett on Friday. Boyd (22-1-2) advanced with 4-1 area-round win over Longview.