Houlton's Jackson Cullen returns a backhand shot during a doubles tennis match against Presque Isle May 24. Credit: Joseph Cyr / Houlton Pioneer Times

HOULTON, Maine — Rising transportation costs, among other factors, have led the Houlton boys and girls tennis teams to forego the postseason this spring.

The combined Houlton-Greater Houlton Christian Academy tennis squads, like all teams in Maine this spring, had the chance to compete in the postseason thanks to an open tournament format created by the Maine Principals Association.

Nick Hardy of Houlton returns a shot during a May 24, 2022, match against Presque Isle. Credit: Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

But due to the volatile price of gas and diesel fuel and the distance the teams would have to go for their road matches, the two squads have decided not to participate in the playoffs this year, RSU 29 Athletic Director Jon Solomon said Thursday. Normally the squads would travel wherever they needed to go to participate in the postseason competitions.

There were a number of reasons that factored into the decision, Houlton High School Principal Tim Tweedie said Thursday. After speaking with her team, the girls coach learned that about a dozen of the student-athletes will participate in a community Memorial Day event and the postseason game would conflict with it, he said.

“Our teams have logged over 400 miles on bus trips for away matches in the last week. We also have prom, the senior class trip, Last Chapel and graduation all taking place in the next six days. When you factor in all of those decisions, the team decided to join the other three Class C girls teams and two Class C boys teams that decided to forgo this preliminary match,” Tweedie said.

Other teams that opted out of postseason play were: Deer Isle/Stonington, Shead and Madawaska girls and Dexter and Deer Isle/Stonington boys, he said.

The Houlton-GHCA girls squad finished the regular season with a 4-8 record, which earned the team the No. 13 seed in Class C North. Although the standings are not yet final, the Shire girls were likely looking at a lengthy bus trip for a preliminary playoff match against the No. 4 seed. That team is currently George Stevens Academy (8-4) of Blue Hill.

The Shire boys team finished 3-7 and were ranked ninth in Class C North. If the standings hold, the team would have played against the No. 8 seed, currently Washington Academy (4-8) of East Machias.

Both playoff destinations are more than two hours away from the Houlton school.

The Shires closed out their season Wednesday, May 25, with a doubleheader against Fort Kent, played in Madawaska.

Isabella Keegan of Presque Isle lunges for the ball during a May 24 doubles tennis match against Houlton. Credit: Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

In girls action, Fort Kent beat Houlton-GHCA 5-0 and 4-0 on the day. The individual results from the first match were, in singles: Anna Albert (FK) beat Sophie Lorom (Hou), 8-0; Julia Cyr (FK) defeated Natalie Delucca (Hou), 8-0; and Hannah Lovley (FK) bested Hillary Peabody (Hou), 8-2.

In doubles, Mia Voisine and Maddie Philbrook (FK) beat Mariah Peterson and Hailey Quint (Hou), 8-3; and Logan Stedt and Shelby Theriault (FK) defeated Cindy Hannigan and Riley Sylvain (Hou), 8-1.

In the second match of the doubleheader, Cyr defeated Delucca, 8-0; and Lovley beat Peabody, 8-0. In doubles, Voisine and Philbrook defeated Olivia Cyr and Mimi Weston (Hou), 8-5; and Lanie Pelletier and Stedt (FK) beat Emily Bushey and Lucy Hebert (Hou), 8-0.

The first singles match was not played as the Warriors had already clinched the team win.

In boys action, the Warriors defeated the Shires 4-0 in both contests. Second doubles matches were not played on the day.

The individual results from the first match were, in singles: Collin Bennett (FK) beat Jackson Cullen (Hou), 8-0; Nate Voisine (FK) beat Nick Hardy (Hou), 8-0; and Oliver Caron (FK) bested Rider Austin (Hou), 8-1.

Left to right, keeping his eye on the ball is Presque Isle’s Ethan Carlisle during a May 24 match against Houlton. Garett LeTourneau of Presque Isle serves up a shot during a May 24 match against Houlton. Credit: Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

In doubles, Connor Voisine and Quinn Michaud (FK) beat Jay Tweedie and Kohl Skehan (Hou), 8-2.

In the second match of the day, Bennett beat Cullen, 8-0; N. Voisine defeated Hardy, 8-0; and Caron bested Austin, 8-1. In doubles, C. Voisine and Michaud defeated Tweedie and Skehan, 8-3.

On Tuesday, May 24, the Shires hosted Presque Isle, with the Wildcats picking up a 5-0 victory against the boys and a 4-1 win over the Shire girls.

The individual boys results were: in singles, Landon Thompson (PI) beat Jadon Gentle (Hou), 8-0; Garrett LeTourneau (PI) defeated Caleb Solomon (Hou), 8-1; and Alex Duprey (PI) beat Bradley Bean (Hou), 8-0.

In doubles, Ben Flannery and Jack Buck (PI) beat Gage Bartlett and Cullen (Hou), 8-1; and Ben Duprey and Jack Hallett (PI) bested Hardy and Brody McLaughlin (Hou), 8-0.

In girls tennis, the individual results were, in singles: Madison Hedrich (PI) beat Lorom (Hou), 8-0; Julia Blake (PI) beat Delucca (Hou), 9-7; and Peabody (Hou) defeated Liberty Herweh (PI), 8-2.

In doubles, Isabella Keegan and Rosalyn Buck (PI) beat Peterson and Cyr (Hou), 8-3; and Ellie Clark and Taylor Walton (PI) defeated Quint and Weston (Hou), 8-2.