FARMINGTON — A steady unforgiving wind blew from the northwest throughout Tuesday girls high school tennis match between Maranacook and Mt. Blue. Emma Wadsworth, Maranacook’s second singles player, did her best to turn the conditions into a positive.

“Playing in this wind gets me confident,” Wadsworth said after her two set win over Hallie Pike.

For Wadsworth, her teammate Madelyn Dwyer, Maranacook’s top singles player, as well as Haley Walsh, Mt. Blue’s third singles player, wins in the wind Tuesday afternoon were tune ups for the state singles championships. Each will play in the round of 48 on Friday morning at Lewiston High School.

“This really helps you focus,” Dwyer said of playing in the wind after her two set victory over Mt. Blue’s Maeve Hickey.

Dwyer will face Laxi Caterine of Yarmouth at 9:45 Friday morning, with the winner advancing to take on Caribou’s Hailey Holmquist at 3:30 p.m. Wadsworth will play Caribou’s Madison Stratton at 12:45 p.m. for the right to play Anna Parker of Brunswick at 6:15 p.m. Walsh will play Elise Linn of Hampden at 9:45, with No. 4 seed Meredith Kelley of Falmouth awaiting the winner at 3:30 p.m.

For Dwyer and Wadsworth, this is a return to the singles tournament. For Walsh, a sophomore, Friday is a debut.

“I was pretty surprised I made it this far,” Walsh said.

Walsh earned an unexpected bye at the regional tournament when her first round opponent missed the match with illness. In the ensuing match against Natalie Luce of Spruce Mountain, Walsh held a 9-7 lead in the tiebreaker set when Luce was forced to retire due to a hip injury.

“I’ve just got to go play my hardest,” Walsh said of Friday’s match after defeating Maranacook’s Ruth Murray-James in two sets.

Now a senior, Dwyer has been Maranacook’s top singles player since her freshman season. Last year, Dwyer advanced to the round of 48 in the singles tournament.

“I’ve been working more on strategy when I hit. I’m thinking more when I’m playing,” Dwyer said.

A pair of recent matches against two of the seeded players in the singles tournament gave Dwyer a taste of top competition. Dwyer defeated Julia Svor, the No. 10 seed from Lewiston, 10-7. In a match against Erskine’s Ellie Hodkin, the No. 8 seed, Dwyer lost a close three set match, 7-5, 4-6, 2-6.

“It showed me I need to not be getting in my head and stay focused. I can hit it, I just need to stay focused,” Dwyer said.

Wadsworth advanced to the round of 32 last year, and said she likes the draws she got in states. Like Dwyer, Wadsworth points to recent matches against players also heading to the singles championships, Lincoln Academy’s Fiona Liang and Abby Svor, the No. 12 seed from Lewiston, as matches she can learn from heading into Friday.

“I’m learning how to be a more consistent player,” Wadsworth said. “A lot of people I play are great hitters, but I think my consistency is my strength.”

Maranacook has another team match scheduled for Wednesday at Morse, while Walsh and Mt. Blue plays at Oxford Hills Thursday. It’s another chance to play before the championships Friday, and Dwyer, Wadsworth, and Walsh each see that as a good thing.

“It definitely helps you prepare. Any time I’m hitting the ball it helps,” Walsh said.


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