Providence’s Kelly and Maggie Ruane are aiming for a big finish at state

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This weekend will be the final time twin sisters Kelly and Maggie Ruane, of Providence, will play tennis as high school teammates.

Will it be the last time they be teammates in a school environment? That’s yet to be decided. The sisters are receiving college interest but they are not sure if it’s in the cards that they’ll attend the same college.

“It’s up in the air,” Maggie said.

The two are a part of a Joliet-area contingent that will play in the state tournament starting Thursday. This will be Kelly’s fourth appearance in the state meet and Maggie’s third.

The two played with different partners as freshmen but teamed up for good after that. They’re 3-3 in state tournament play.

In 2012, the Ruanes provided all three of Providence’s points, going 2-2. They didn’t exit the tournament without a fight, though. They dropped a 7-6 (6), 6-4 war to York’s Gabby Riek and Ellen Barry before heading back home to Mokena.

In 2011, their run was cut short by rain. They went 1-1 in bracket play but consolations rounds were wiped out. In 2010, Kelly was paired with Kathleen Kennedy. The two qualified for state and went 0-2.

The Ruanes, plus Celtics singles player Hannah Davis, won sectional titles Saturday at Plainfield North to help Providence win its first sectional team title since 2001. The twins were crossing their fingers for a top-32 seed but didn’t get it.

The Ruanes will meet Elgin Academy’s Kayla Schwan and Emma May in the first round.

“It’s everyone’s goal to make it to state. It’s a fun experience,” Kelly said. “Last year we were a game away from the top 32. This year, we’re hoping for top 16.”

Coach Ben Thompson isn’t counting them out.

“A lot will depend on the execution on the days of the state tournament,” he said. “They came so close last year, and have the ability to reach the top 16. They have to continue to believe and to put it forward.”

The area has nine singles players and seven doubles teams at state. Out of the 23 athletes, eight are either freshmen or sophomores. In singles, Lockport’s Tomi Jo Mansell and Morris’ Megan Davy are freshmen who qualified, while Davis and Joliet Catholic’s Nina Bertino are sophomores who secured state spots.

In doubles, Joliet Catholic freshmen Maddie Bauer and McCoy Hutchison qualified. Lincoln-Way East sophomore Jacqi Michuda — who’s teaming with senior Stefanie Hunniford — and Lockport sophomore Hailey Bruining — who is paired with senior Britney Kupiec — also made it to the big show.

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