Pembroke Hill senior Yurie Heard capped her high school tennis career with another Missouri state championship in Class 1 singles Saturday.
And she did it with wins over Springfield Catholic sophomore Anna Rader and Jefferson City Helias senior Ashley Dowden, who had a combined record of 63-0 this season going into their matches Saturday.
Heard, who had not lost a single game going into the final day of the tournament, defeated Rader 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals Saturday morning at the Cooper Tennis Complex.
She was breezing as well in her championship match against Dowden with a 6-2, 5-0 advantage before dropping three games, as many as she had lost at that point in the entire tournament. She finally completed a 6-2, 6-3 victory.
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“I just got so tight at the end,” Heard said. “I started playing defensively and that is not my game. It was obviously not working.”
Heard finally was able to close it out after Dowden saved four match points. Heard also won the championship last year and had a third-place finish in singles as a freshman.
“I train to win and come out to win so it is very satisfying to win again, especially during my senior year,” Heard said. “I enjoyed high school tennis so much. It is a different atmosphere than I am used to and I hope to have that atmosphere of being a part of a team in college.”
Heard said that academics will come first in her collegiate decision but she definitely wants to play college in tennis.
“Her record speaks for itself,” Pembroke Hill coach Mike Duckworth said. “She is just so talented. She has the obvious tennis skills and combines that with athletic ability. She moves so effortlessly on the court.”
Class 1 doubles
The Class 1 doubles championship by Barstow’s Janie King and Amelia Smith would certainly have to be labeled as a very pleasant surprise.
“I didn’t even pair them together at the beginning of the season,” Barstow coach Tom O’Brien said. “With our four previous doubles champions we could see it happening at the beginning of the season and designed our season accordingly.
“Janie and Amelia’s doubles game just evolved in the last month or so. We saw some glimpses including an 8-2 win over a good team from Blue Valley North. At that point I thought that this doubles team was capable of making it to state. But to win state is amazing. The key was their net game. They took over the net more and more as the season went on and never better than they did at state.”
The championship match, a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Kiki Peters and Maddy Duncan of team state champion John Burroughs, was the last match off the court in the three-day tournament.
“We were really excited just to have the opportunity to play here,” King sad. “Our biggest goal was really just to enjoy the moment.”
It was obvious from the smiles on their faces that Smith and King enjoyed every moment.
“We didn’t really know what to expect so we just took things match by match,” Smith said. “We played our match which was to be aggressive at the net and never gave up.”
Pembroke Hill’s team of Caroline Rooney and Ellison Rooney finished third in doubles in Class 1.
Class 2 singles
Logan Morrissey of Lee’s Summit North finished fourth in singles in Class 2 singles, and Margo Gerke of Notre Dame de Sion won the consolation championship.