Nine Highlands High School tennis players made their mark on the state tournament in Lexington from May 17-19.
The Bluebirds capped their regional championship seasons by exceeding expectations in the state tournament. Both the boys and girls teams had a very successful season under first-year head coaches.
On the boys side, senior Drew Freyberger won his first match. He went up against a seeded player in his second match and pushed him to the brink before falling, 4-6; 6-2; 6-2.
“Drew played a very tough match against Colin Hart and should be proud of the effort he made,” said boys head coach Collin Shadwell.
The doubles team of seniors Atlee Mitchell and Aran Coughlan advanced to the Round of 16. After winning their first round match with relative ease, the duo upset a seeded team. The hard-fought 6-3; 5-7; 6-2 victory showed how far Mitchell and Coughlan came together over the course of the season.
“I love that Atlee and Aran were able to knock off a seeded team,” said Shadwell. “I think because they started so slow this season getting to know each other’s playing styles, that a lot of people were surprised at how well they played together at the end.”
“I knew they would surprise someone this season, and they did.”
The girls team had six players make state appearances. Junior Mallory Martz lost her opening round match to the No. 2 seed. Freshman Meredith Laskey entered as a fifth seed and outplayed her seed. Laskey advanced to the semifinals before losing to the eventual state champion, Notre Dame Academy senior Madie Cook.
“I was really happy and excited,” said Laskey. “I’d never gotten that far and I went farther than I was expected to go.”
“We were thrilled for Meredith to break through to the semis in singles,” said girls head coach (and Meredith’s mother) Kris Laskey. “Whether it was her first match or her fifth, she played smart and worked hard for every point.”
The doubles team of eighth-grader Lexi Herman and junior Hannah Laskey advanced to the quarterfinals. They notched a big upset over the fifth-seeded doubles team from Lone Oak in the Round of 16 to advance. Sophomore Abby Herman and eighth-grader Sarah Hoffman lost their first round doubles match.