Coco Meserve of Brunswick gears up for a forehand during her qualifying match on Saturday at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — Coco Meserve of Brunswick had been thinking about this day for a long time.

The freshman phenom came into Saturday’s Region 3 singles qualifying tournament with her confidence up and was ready to roll.

“I’ve never had an experience quite like this, I was definitely nervous heading into it,” said Meserve, who was seeded third and rolled through her bracket to earn a spot in the Round of 52 on May 21. “It was fun and gave me a good feel of what to expect as I progress through the rest of the tournament.”

Meserve defeated Marlee Hisler 6-0, 6-0 in her final match.

The girls qualifier was held at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham, while the boys played at Brunswick High School. Nine players from the region move on from the qualifiers to the following round.

For Zander Chown, a senior at Mt. Ararat who was seeded fourth, having experience from his sophomore season in 2019 helped him get to where he wanted to on Saturday; a spot in the next round.

“Well I’ve been here before so I knew what to expect,” said Chown, who was seeded sixth in 2019 and reached the second round of the state tournament. “It feels like our season has really just started, it’s weird that we’re already here.”

With last years’ cancelation to the season, players have been looking for any sense of normalcy during this season. Chown said Saturday helped with that aspect.

Lindsay Bell of Gardiner follows through on a serve during her singles qualifying matching on Saturday at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“This season has been strange so to be back out here in this environment is definitely nice,” he said. “I’m just happy with how things have gone thus far.”

Chown secured a spot with a win over Ian Doughty of Medomak Valley, dropping him in two sets 6-1, 6-0.

Dawson Turcotte of Skowhegan and Caitlin Cass of Lincoln Academy each came into the qualifier boasting the top seed in Region 3 on each side, respectively. Cass didn’t drop a game in route to securing a bid. Turcotte had no issues either,  beating Landon Weaver of Mt. Ararat 6-1, 6-0 in the final round to move on.

“I wanted to keep it simple and I did that, it worked out well,” Turcotte said. “The conditions didn’t necessarily help, but everyone was dealing with it.”

While it wasn’t brutally cold, wind gusts clearly had an effect on some points and caused some shivers amongst the spectators at times.

Along with Cass and Meserve, second seed Inga Zimba of Waterville handed business, winning her final match 6-0, 6-0. Sixth seed Lindsay Bell of Gardiner took care of her side of things as well, winning her final match 6-0, 6-1.

Luke Curnin of Mt. Ararat strikes a forehand during a singles qualifying match on Saturday at Brunswick High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

“I’ve been excited about this all week and now it happened, I’m just very happy and excited to be here and with how I played,” Bell said. “Seeing everyone here and people that you haven’t seen in a long time was awesome.”

On the boys side, all nine players who were seeded before the qualifier won their bracket to secure a spot in the Round of 52.

Turcotte and Chown were among the top four seeds, as were Charlie Haberstock of Waterville and Ezra LeMole of Camden Hills. The remaining seeded players consisted of Calvin Doherty of Brunswick, Owen Evans of Waterville, Josiah Bloom of Waterville, Owen Markowitz of Camden Hills, and Coleman Swain of Medomak Valley, who will all be advancing to the next round.

Only Bloom needed three sets to secure a win, coming back from a 4-6 loss in the first set to win the final two sets 6-4 and 6-3 to move on.

There were upsets in the girls qualifier. Five of the top six seeds in Cass, Zimba, Meserve, Anna Barnes of Brunswick, and Bell all won their respective matches, but fifth-seeded Camden LaMarre lost on a default. LaMarre’s early exit opened a window of opportunity for Lia Rand of Brunswick, who took full advantage to earn a spot in the next round defeating Sydney Barr of Morse.

Olivia Nixon of Lincoln Academy upset eighth-seeded Julia Barber of Erskine Academy, while Ella Perham of Brunswick became the fourth Dragon to earn a spot in the next round by defeating Ella Ashmore of Medomak Valley. Kiera Gilman of Waterville claimed the final spot, defeating Haylie Peacock of Gardiner in three sets.

The Round of 52 and Round of 32 are scheduled to take place on May 21, with the state finals set for May 24 in Lewiston.

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