Taking it All Girls Tennis 2020


Emily Attebery and Sadie McDonald

Monday after school, junior Eva Kading changed into her own blue and white tank top and black tennis skirt and headed straight for Harmon Park. She needed as much practice time as she could get. There was no time to mess around if they were going to succeed in making it to state, as they hoped to. When they weren’t watching their teammates, they were playing. 

After placing second in state freshman year and being co-champions with Blue Valley Northwest sophomore year, Kading was eager for the girls tennis team to take the championship title. This went for every other girl on the varsity team. Besides the addition of a few freshmen, the team would be the exact same this season as it had been last year.

This was it. This was their chance. 

“I feel like we have a lot to prove because of state being so close last year,” Kading said. “Not only to prove to others that we can win, but to prove to ourselves that we can get it done.”

The team had grown close over the years. Not only did they all play together during the school year, but in the offseason, they played together religiously at Overland Park Racquet Club, although their time together during the summer was limited because of quarantine.

“They’re the only people I see some days,” Kading said. “I’ll go to tennis for five hours and be with all of them, and then when I get home I’m so tired I won’t want to do anything.”

Because of COVID-19, the tennis season was cut short. It was only a month-long, compared to the two months they had gotten to practice last year, stressing out the girls even more about their chances to win state.

“Since we have new freshmen coming on to the team it’s pretty stressful,” Cartmell said. “Our coach is just getting to meet them so his attention isn’t on the people he already knows.”

Kading grabbed a loose ball from the ground and started practicing her serves alongside her singles competitor, Wilcox. Besides the occasional water break, the girls played fiercely until the practice was over. If they wanted to win state, and they did, they needed to work for it.

“We have the motivation to win,” Kading said. “Now we just have this year to prove it.”

Not only did the girls who played state together last year remain, but their competitors did too. Blue Valley Northwest. Their rivals. The girls wanted more than a co-champion title or second place. And this was their last chance to get it all. 

On Oct. 16 the varsity girls pulled up into the parking lot of College Boulevard Activity Center, ready to play.

That afternoon they proudly went home with the state championship title and 33 points, eight more than Blue Valley Northwest.