SPRINGFIELD — The Class 2 singles field at the 2013 Missouri high school girls tennis tournament was recognized as one of the best from top to bottom in recent years.
By BILL HESTER
Special to The Star
But Lee’s Summit senior Tess Herder left little doubt that she was the tops of a very talented 16-player field.
Herder lost just seven total games in her four matches at state, capping off a dominating performance with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over St. Joseph’s Academy freshman Caroline Pozo Saturday afternoon at the Cooper Tennis Complex.
“I am an aggressive player, and I was able to dictate most of the points this weekend,” said Herder, who will be attending Drake University next fall. “This is huge for me. I wanted to finish strong. No way was I going to be standing on the No. 2 block on the podium.”
Herder had stood on that block two years ago after losing in the Class 2 championship to Hannah Wille of Parkway Central. Herder did not play high school tennis last year, concentrating on her training with coaches Eric Rand and Elliott McDermed at the Kansas City United Tennis Academy.
“It was a tough decision to come back to play high school tennis as a senior, but I like the team atmosphere of high school tennis,” Herder said. “I knew the keys for me in this tournament were to be confident and to keep mentally focused.”
Herder had reached the finals with a 6-0, 6-2 win in the semifinals over Cam Newton of Ladue.
Barstow wins doubles
Barstow seniors Alena Frye and Maddy Tadros capped off a memorable final high school tournament with a championship in Class 1 doubles.
Frye and Tadros had been key cogs in the first Barstow team championship Thursday. They followed that with a dominant effort in doubles. Frye and Tadros won their first three matches 6-0, 6-0 and then defeated Clayton’s Connor Cassity and Cameron Freeman 6-1, 6-4 in the championship match Saturday afternoon.
“John McEnroe was once asked what the key was to being victorious in doubles,” Barstow coach Tom O’Brien said. “He answered, ‘The team with the best player.’ And we think we have one of the best players around in Alena. She really took over when Clayton made a run in the second set.”
Frye concluded her stellar high school career with four state championships. She won two doubles championships, a singles title and the team title on Thursday.
There was never a doubt that Frye wanted to play doubles as a senior.
“I remember walking to the parking lot after the tournament last year, and Alena said she wanted to take her friend Maddy along this year,” O’Brien said.
The result was a state title.
“They told me I could only play doubles this year if I won in singles last year,” Frye said. “That gave me extra motivation. It was a lot more fun standing on the podium with Maddy today.”
• Lee’s Summit North’s Logan Morrissey and Camryn Parnell came within one match of duplicating the Barstow doubles championship.
Lee’s Summit North won its first state team title in winning the Class 2 championship Thursday. Morrissey and Parnell reached the doubles finals with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Liberty’s Cassidy Paul and Gretchen Ohlhausen in the semifinals. But they fell in the championship match to Kirkwood’s Sarah Stuhlmann and Bridget Mayfield, 6-0, 7-6.
• Liberty won the third-place match in Class 2 doubles. Paul and Ohlhausen defeated Notre Dame de Sion freshmen Janey King and Margo Gerke 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.
• Pembroke Hill’s doubles team of Cindy Wang and Ellison Rooney had an outstanding weekend, winning three of their four matches. They won the third-place match in Class 1 over Rebecca Canino and Mary Mazzuca 6-0, 6-0.