116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES - It took a freshman to turn the tide, but a pair of veterans brought it home. And now Cedar Rapids Washington can call itself girls' tennis state champions for the first time since 1987.
'There's not a lot of words I can find right now,” an emotional Washington Coach Liz Bertrand said after her Warriors outlasted defending state champion Clinton, 5-2, to win the Class 2A state team championship Saturday at the Ames Racquet and Fitness Club. 'I've never felt so proud of anything before.”
Washington ends unbeaten at 20-0. The Warriors won a semifinal over Des Moines Roosevelt, 5-3, at Ames High School before rain forced the championship and consolation final indoors.
Washington freshman Hannah Sherman posted a comfortable, 6-0, 6-1, victory over Clinton's Jordan Nelson at No. 2 singles, but the Warriors trailed 2-1 after three matches. Jennifer Greif defeated Shannon Shovlain at No. 5 singles, 6-3, 6-3, and with Callie Cook comfortably ahead in the final singles slot, Washington's need for either one or two doubles' wins for the state title rested on freshman Kelly King.
After dropping her first set, 6-4, and trailing 2-0 in the second to Clinton's Gabby Haan at No. 4 singles, King rallied to tie the set at 5-5 and eventually won with a 7-2 set tiebreaker. In a gutsy performance, King completed the comeback with a 10-7 victory in the third-set tiebreaker and swung the momentum to the Warriors with a 4-2 lead heading to doubles.
'You just know that you can never stop fighting,” King said. 'You can always come back, it doesn't matter how down you are.”
In doubles, junior Lilly Hartman and senior Rina Moore, the only two to lose singles matches, clinched the title with a third-set tiebreaker, 6-2, 6-7 (7), 10-2, over doubles state qualifiers Haan and Nelson.
'We worked hard, really all season,” Hartman said. 'We really wanted this. This is the end goal, and it feels great.”
Hartman was a freshman on Washington's runner-up squad in 2012, and Moore was a member of the 2011 third-place team.
'It's really nice for Rina and me to get that finish,” Hartman said. 'It was really a good feeling to finish off that championship point.”
At the 1A team championships in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids Xavier defeated Camanche, 5-3, in the third-place match for its best finish in school history.
l Comments: email@example.com