116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Cedar Rapids Xavier senior Emily Jasper is no stranger to state tournaments.
She made her third state appearance this week in the past year and sixth in her high school career. But coming into Thursday, she still hadn't won a state title.
Now she has.
'I have kind of a bad track record,' Jasper said with a laugh. 'I've had a couple of chances.'
There was a different feeling at Thursday's Class 1A girls' state tennis tournament. This time, she had a reason to smile after match point in the doubles final, running over and quickly embracing teammate Miyako Coffey.
She finally won a state title after her backhand smash ensured a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Waterloo Columbus' Taylor Hogan and Elysse Trost at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center.
'I can't even put it into words,' Jasper said. 'It's awesome.'
Jasper and Coffey overcame a 4-0 run from the reigning state champions in the first set to take the 6-4 win. They then dominated the second set with ease.
'We knew that they were going to get their run,' Jasper said. 'We were going to get ours, so we just tried to stay calm through that.'
Rough stretches like that were rare for the senior-sophomore pair. They won their first 16 games Wednesday and came into the championship with a 28-10 record.
The four games won in the first set by Hogan and Trost was the closest the duo came to beating Jasper and Coffey.
'We've just been trying to come out with a lot of energy,' Jasper said. 'Not afraid of anything or any challenge. Just attack everything. That seemed to work for us.'
Two years ago, any talk about a state tournament appearance for Coffey wouldn't have been around tennis. The lefty played on her varsity softball team as an eighth-grader, but she gave up softball the following year to pursue tennis.
'I put a lot of hard work and effort into softball, so it was sad to quit, but I'm glad ... that it is finally paying off,' Coffey said. 'It's worth it.'
Coffey has two more chances at another tennis title although there is some uncertainty whether she'll stick with tennis.
'Especially with Emily being my doubles partner, I don't know how I can top it,' Coffey said.
Jasper's athletic career at Xavier ended on a high note after five unsuccessful trips to state tournaments.
'It doesn't feel real yet,' Jasper said. 'I'm really glad we ended on a win. Not many people can say they did that.'
Jasper isn't quite satisfied with her one title, though.
'I wish I could have gotten the other ones, too,' she said. 'It's bittersweet to have the last one be the one I win.'
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