Buckel(s) Up!!!

Senior Khayli Buckels becomes first girls tennis singles state champion in South High history.


Courtesy of Khayli Buckels

Khayli shows off her winning bracket after winning the state title.

After four years of being on varsity tennis, senior Khayli Buckels has become the only girl’s tennis state champion at Parkway South High School. Now she seeks out a future at the University of Nebraska-Omaha to play D1 tennis.

In the state final this year, Buckels found herself down in the first set 2-4, and second set 0-3, but still found a way to win the match and become the first girls singles state champion at South High. In addition, South becomes the only Parkway school to have a boys and girls tennis singles state champion. 

“Winning state was kinda like a big rush of emotions,” Buckels said.

Buckels also went the whole season without losing a match, something else she can add to her list of accomplishments. 

“It didn’t feel like the pressure was laid upon me, but it did feel nice knowing I could do it, that I could have an undefeated season,” she said. 

Her accomplishments of making it to state for three years in a row inspired her teammates to look forward and try their best for the next tennis season coming back this fall without her. 

“I admire her perseverance because she always goes and puts 100 percent effort into what she does,” said junior Sri Koya.

Teammates and coaches have supported Buckels through her time at South. They see Buckels as someone who never has a bad attitude and represents great sportsmanship. Her junior year, Buckels received the G18 sportsmanship award from her peers, and she has continued to show genuine respect and kindness toward all of her opponents and teammates, according to teammate Lily Reeds.  

“Khayli would never throw fits on the tennis court and she always had the best attitude, even when she was down on a set she would never give up,” Reeds said. 

Coach Nick Tanurchis has been coaching for approximately 25 years and in his 21st year, he started coaching Buckels. Tanurchis said he is extremely proud of Khayli and what she has been able to do for these past 4 years. Tanurchis plans on watching Buckels through the next few years as she goes off to play D1 tennis in Nebraska. 

“I am extremely proud of Khayli and how she has represented Parkway South in such a positive manner.  Not only has she grown as a tennis player, but as a person as well. It has been an amazing journey and story of perseverance,” said Tanurchis. 

Buckels has been preparing herself for the next level, D1 college in Omaha, Nebraska. Buckels already knows a couple of players from this team because she has been playing against them her whole life. 

As college approaches, she focuses on her high school studies and continues to work on her tennis game by practicing hard. 

“I am excited to compete at a certain level and compete with adults. I believe it will improve my game so much more,” said Buckels. 

Buckels has been playing since she was 7 years old. Since then she has been playing club and now has played 4 years of South. Khayli has a lot of experience playing and will continue to be playing at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

“I’m really going to miss staying after and hanging out with my friends,” said Buckels.