The Edmond North girls’ tennis program has put together a nice run in recent years.
Rallying on Saturday by winning titles in No. 2 singles (Jaci Smith) and No. 2 doubles (Katie Liszewski and Hayley Morgan), Edmond North finished as co-state champions with Jenks on Saturday afternoon at the Oklahoma City Tennis Center.
“We knew we were the underdogs coming in but at the same time we believed this was possible if we played our best tennis,” said coach DeeAnn Wallar, who has coached the Huskies since 2008. “This feels so fantastic. This truly was a team victory.”
The Huskies and Trojans both finished with 23 points.
“Twelve hours ago none of us probably thought it was possible to win state,” said Smith, who defeated top-seeded Caroline Reynolds of Tulsa Kelley 6-0, 6-0 in the finals. “We thought we were out of the running. It’s such a great feeling to come back today and play great as a team.”
It’s Edmond North’s fifth girls’ tennis championship, their fourth of the past six years.
“A lot of our kids in our middle school programs were here this weekend,” Wallar said. “That’s the kind of tradition we’re building. They someday want to do what this team did today, win a state title. I’ve been so fortunate to have some great kids.”
Based on regular-season tournaments and seeds in the four divisions, Jenks was the favorite. The Trojans were the overwhelming favorite heading into Saturday after Edmond North’s No. 1 singles player was eliminated early.
“This team is so close,” Smith said. “We motivate each other which helps us all play better individually. Some of us knew we had to step it up, but we knew together we could do it as a team.”
The key match was the No. 2 doubles team winning their division, highlighted by a win Saturday morning in the semifinals against Jenks, which featured the top seed.
“It shows the depth of our program,” Wallar said. “We have seven or eight girls who contributed this year. We knew we’d have to play well this weekend.”
Liszewski, a junior, and Morgan, a freshman, had only played three matches together before last week’s regionals. They were 6-0 entering state but were seeded fourth. After winning their division the duo finished 10-0, collecting nine team points.
“All of my girls play hard no matter where we put them,” Wallar said. “I had a hunch they’d be good together. For them to be the ones who stepped up when we needed it is so fantastic. This truly was a team where players were asked to play different roles.
“We stress this is still high school and they need to enjoy themselves. As coaches you hope tennis helps them have a great high school experience. We’re so fortunate to have great coaches and players that want to be part of that.”
When No. 1 singles player, senior Annie Hays, was eliminated early, Jenks owned a commanding edge.
“Kudos to Annie,” Smith said. “She took the hardest position and worked her heart out. She has led this team so well. That’s why it feels so great we pulled it out because she played a key role and gets to celebrate. We were in this as a team.”
Even though Jenks was the favorite, Smith said the Huskies and Tulsa Kelley were relatively even during the regular season.
“There really wasn’t a tournament all year where all three of us were there, playing our best players so we knew it would be a showdown at state,” Smith said.
“It was sort of like my freshman year when we pulled it out against Jenks. For us to come through and win the title it feels so great.”