by LIZ SINKEVICS
Rockford girls tennis Coach Tom Huizing last week commended his team for what he called “a magical season” following the Rams’ 14th-place finish at the state finals during the last weekend of May.
Winning matches under the blue skies of Midland were freshman Lauren Korlewitz at first singles, senior Jillian Haverkate and junior Katie Rachon at first doubles, senior Michaela Young and junior Mackenzie Young at third doubles, and senior Meliah Mead and junior Lindsay Gauger at fourth doubles.
After a bye in the first round, the unseeded Young sisters won a match against sixth seed West Bloomfield to reach the quarterfinals, where they lost to third seed Grosse Pointe South.
The Rams ended up tied for 14th with Clarkston, Grand Blanc and Port Huron, with four points. Midland Dow won with 30 points, and Ann Arbor Pioneer was second with 29.
This was the first time in Rockford High School history that the girls tennis team qualified for state finals in back-to-back years. Three players-Haverkate, Rachon and senior Anna Sinkevics-were members of both state finals teams.
Overall, the team’s record was 10-1-1, with two first-place finishes and one second-place finish at invitationals, a tie for first at the OK Red conference tournament, a second-place overall finish in the conference by just one point and winning the regional tournament for the first time in school history. Haverkate, Korlewitz, Rachon and freshman second singles player Marjeanne Bothma were named as All-Conference players.
Huizing, a teacher at Rockford High School, was named Regional Coach of the Year. He was assisted at the state finals by JV-B Coach Matt Drolett.
According to the Michigan High School Athletics Association, state finals results for the Rams were:
- Number one singles-first round: Korlewitz of Rockford d. Sarah Awe of Romeo, 6-3, 6-0; second round: number one seed Kelsey Dieters of Rochester d. Korlewitz, 6-1, 6-0.
- Number two singles-first round: Tanya Joseph of Northville d. Bothma of Rockford, 6-1, 6-1.
- Number three singles-first round: Alex Stembaugh of Rockford, bye; second round: Anna Parker of Rochester d. Stembaugh, 7-5, 6-4.
- Number four singles-first round: Jenelle Miller of Rockford, bye; second round: number four seed Emily Lynch of Grosse Pointe South d. Miller, 6-1, 6-0.
- Number one doubles-first round: Haverkate/Rachon of Rockford d. Kathleen McBride/Christine Mei of Ann Arbor Huron, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4; second round: number two seed Stephanie Kennedy/Michelle Guarino of Midland Dow d. Haverkate/Rachon of Rockford, 7-6, 6-0.
- Number two doubles-first round: Michelle Orlando/Alyson Schafer of Grand Ledge d. Sinkevics/Heather Williams of Rockford, 6-4, 6-3.
- Number three doubles-first round: Young/Young of Rockford, bye; second round: Young/Young d. number six seed Laurel Ruza/Aditi Rajagopal of West Bloomfield, 7-5, 2-6, 6-1; quarterfinals: number three seed Diana Dodge/Kiki Fox of Grosse Pointe South d. Young/Young, 6-1, 6-1.
- Number four doubles-first round: Mead/Gauger of Rockford d. Gina Salazar/Lindsey Krasny of Grand Blanc, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4; second round: number three seed Alexa Arvidson/Julie Rampton of Ann Arbor Pioneer d. Mead/Gauger, 6-2, 6-3.