CHARLESTON - "I'm on cloud nine."
The speaker was Greg Varney. The topic was his Ripley Lady Viking tennis team.
The veteran coach has every right to be.
Ripley is sending its most competitors ever, boys or girls, to the State Tournament this week in Charleston.
The Lady Vikings are heading to the Capital City after an impressive showing in the Class AAA Region 3 Tournament on Thursday and Friday in Capital City.
All four singles players will be competing in the three-day affair, which runs from Thursday through Saturday, along with two of three doubles teams.
By qualifying nearly its entire team for the State Tournament, Ripley also earned a first-ever regional runner-up trophy. GW edged the Lady Vikings for the regional crown in team scoring by an 18-16 count.
Two players in singles – No. 2 player Kaitlyn Whyte and No. 4 player Arin Shatto – each won regional crowns. Whyte, the top-seed, defeated Erin Johnson of Greenbrier East, 8-0, in the championship match. Whyte also won two other matches on her way to the title.
Shatto, the No. 4 top-seed, downed Sara Moses, 8-0, in her title match. Shatto also won two other matches to reach the final match.
Both No. 1 singles player Emily Munson and No. 3 Brooke King finished as runners-up. Munson was beaten by GW's Kristen White, the top-seed, 8-0. Earlier in the tourney Munson, the No.2 seed, defeated Princeton's Alania Blankenship, 8-1, and Erin Hendricks of Riverside, 8-2.
King lost to Marie Skaff of GW, 8-2, in the final. She defeated Hannah Scott Clark of Beckley, 8-0, and Samantha Powers of Riverside, 8-4, to reach the championship.
Munson and White claimed the No. 1 doubles championship with an 8-3 victory over Riverside's Erin Hendricks and Morgan Carrico.
Shatto and Tyler Barrickman qualified by reaching the final match in No. 2 doubles. They were beaten by Jacqueline Teed and Skaff of GW, 8-2, for the regional crown. They won two matches to reach the title showdown and earn the right to play in the State Tournament.
For the Viking boys squad, Jacob Haynes and Jordan Ullom each won a match in No. 3 and No. 4 singles, respectively.
Haynes and Parker Lively got a win in No. 2 doubles before bowing out as did the No. 3 team of J.J. Mahan and Baylee VanKirk.