HANOVER -- The journey for Susquehannock teammates Chelsea Simmers and Katie Wagner to doubles gold in the York-Adams League Class AAA Girls' Tennis Tournament was not a direct trip.
Just three weeks ago, Susquehannock coach Marianne Michels decided to make a change with her No. 1 doubles team by replacing Hannah Brown with Simmers to pair with Wagner. Simmers, a senior, only began playing tennis three years ago. And never before had she teamed with Wagner. Yet, there they were on a chilly and blustery Wednesday afternoon at South Western High School, becoming the first Susquehannock girls' doubles team since 2004 to win gold in the league tournament.
The team they defeated? Dallastown's No. 1 duo of Emily Kistler and Angela Freidrich, 6-1, 6-1. It's the same team that had beaten Wagner and Brown back on Sept. 10, prompting Michels to get the idea of making a change at the top.
"We literally only played two matches together before this tournament," Wagner said of her pairing with Simmers. "We realized, 'why weren't we doing this all year?'"
Wagner, who won her third-straight league singles crown on Monday, had been on the losing end in the doubles league tournament title match each of the previous two years. Two years ago, it was Wagner and Tori Gray losing to Central York, 6-2, 6-0. Then last year, Wagner and teammate Adrianna Bullaj lost in the doubles' final to Dallastown, 6-1, 1-6, 7-6 (5).
Emotional after Wednesday's victory, Michels couldn't find the words to describe the achievement.
"The fact that last year we had match point (in the doubles title match) and didn't get it..." Michels said.
Earlier in the day in the semifinals, the top-seeded Warriors advanced to the championship round by defeating Spring Grove's No. 2 team of Michaela Taylor and Amanda Craver, 6-2, 6-0.
Kistler and Freidrich, the No. 3 seed, won their semifinal match over the No. 13-seeded Kennard-Dale team of Alyssa Miller and Sofia Alsamadi, 7-5, 6-3. Miller and Alsamadi took bronze in the consolation by beating Taylor and Craver, 6-3, 7-6 (4).
Class AA: In Class AA, the top-seeded Biglerville duo of Carlee Brumgard and Jenna Glass won gold over the No. 2 seed York Catholic team of Sarah Koury and Catherine Vizzard, 6-2, 6-2. It marked the first time in Canners' program history they won doubles gold in the league tournament.
Earlier in the semifinals, Brumgard and Glass beat Delone Catholic's Alyssa Neudecker and Liz Dizor, 6-0, 6-0, while Koury and Vizzard defeated York Catholic's No. 2 team of Maggie Javitt and Kathryn Thomas, 6-3, 6-4.
Neudecker and Dizor took bronze by winning the consolation over Javitt and Thomas, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.
District 3: As expected, Wagner earned the top seed in Class AAA for the upcoming District 3 Singles Tournament.
Wagner is the defending district champion. In Class AA, Brumgard is the No. 4 seed. Lancaster Catholic's Elizabeth Veronis is the No. 1 seed in AA.
The singles tournament starts Saturday at Hershey Racquet Club.
The District 3 Team Tournament starts Thursday, also at Hershey Racquet Club. York-Adams Division I champion Spring Grove is seeded No. 1 in AAA and will take on No. 8 seed Hershey at noon.
Dallastown, the York-Adams Division I runner-up, is seeded No. 4 in AAA and will battle No. 5 seed Exeter at 1:15 p.m.
The District 3-AA Team Tournament starts Friday. York-Adams Division II champion York Catholic is seeded No. 3 and will take on No. 6 seed Pequea Valley at 2:30 p.m. Biglerville is seeded No. 7 and will meet No. 2 seed Wyomissing at 3:45 p.m.
-- Reach John Walk at email@example.com.