Gryphons Cruise to Victory: Women’s tennis claims second consecutive regional title
By Leo Applegate, Sports Editor for The Alcove student newspaper.
Following a tough stretch that consisted of more than 10 matches in two weeks, the girls tennis team was not fatigued, but rather the opposite—they were focused and motivated as ever. It was business as usual for the Gryphons, as they emerged victorious for the second straight year in the regional tournament, winning almost every flight.
The team’s preparation for the tournament was nothing special, simply keeping up the hard work that they’d put in all year.
“The kids have been working hard, they’ve been looking forward to this,” said head coach Mark Randolph. “They’re all tuned up and ready to go. A lot of it is playing the waiting game; you have to balance your focus with anxiety.”
Randolph’s words rang true, as all of the team’s players found themselves waiting to play matches for excruciatingly long periods of time due to first-round byes that resulted from an unusual format.
“The bye goes to the one seed in a seven-team tournament,” said Randolph. “Sadly, Cabrini pulled out for the first time ever, as they, unfortunately, had low participation this year due to some coaching and program changes.”
Although the team won the regional title handily, they were still challenged by good competition across the board, which helped them improve.
“FGR’s [Father Gabriel Richard] singles are very strong across all of their flights, and we’ll probably see them later this year at the state [tournament] level,” said Randolph. “The same goes for SCA’s [Saint Catherine’s Academy] doubles teams.”
Greenhills held the one seed for all eight flights of singles and doubles, but FGR’s singles were the second seed in all flights, and SCA’s doubles were the second seed in all flights.
Although the team is competing at a very high level, and succeeding, the squad is comprised of a very young core, consisting of mainly freshmen and sophomores—a feat almost unheard of at the varsity level. For most teams, having such a new varsity group could provide problems due to inexperience. However, this is simply not the case for the Gryphons.
“We only have three upperclassmen this year, so it’s been kind of a rebuilding year, but we’ve really come together as a team,” said team captain Maddie Morgan ’25. “We’ve gotten close, especially with all of these matches the past couple of weeks.”
Morgan also cited the strenuous stretch of matches as a reason for the team’s accelerated maturity.
“We had so many matches over the past few weeks, eleven over a thirteen-day stretch,” said Morgan. “We’ve been really busy trying to get those matches in—and have gotten a lot of the experience we need to pull out those tight sets.”
And pull out the tight sets they did, as the team’s 2-, 3-, and 4-singles all claimed individual regional titles, along with the 1-, 2-, and 3-doubles duos.
As the regular season wraps up, the team enters what they call the “second season,” or the postseason.
Their regional championship punched the squad’s ticket to the state tournament, which will be held in Kalamazoo starting on June 2, where they look to win back-to-back state titles.
Until then, the team plans to return to practice as normal.
“We haven’t actually had practice in two weeks,” said Parini Rao ’24. “So we’re trying to get back into the practice routine—focus on specific drills to help us compete.”
Despite being one of the best teams, if not the best team in the state, the squad always maintains a humble attitude and approach to the sport.
“We always try and stay confident in our own abilities, but never cocky,” said Rao. “We’re always respectful of our opponents and the sport, whether we win or lose.”
Approaching the state tournament, the Gryphons’ mentality is simple—just take it one day at a time.
“For states, we just try and get through that first day [of qualifying for the semifinal and final rounds] and bring it on the second day,” said Morgan. “Right now, all we can focus on is what we can control.”