OGDEN — Peaking at just the right time, St. Joseph tied with Rowland Hall to share the 2A/1A girls state tennis championship, the first state title in girls tennis for the school since 1979. The co-championship happened just a week after the Jayhawks won the school's first-ever region title in girls tennis.
With a team full of veterans, the Jayhawks were able to get to at least the semifinals in all five events to gather important points.
"We all played really well and gave points toward the final tally," second singles finalist Jenn Mijer said. "Everyone was really emotional because these were our last matches, but we all did our best."
With five seniors (Mijer, Lauren Jones, Mara Davisson, Kaela Eddy and Margaret Foreman) having competed for at least three seasons together, the co-championship was particularly meaningful for the players.
"We just really, really wanted it. We worked hard all summer and focused on it," first singles champion Jones said. "For some of us, it will be our last time playing tennis, so it was really sad when it ended."
Jones capped a stellar career with her second straight first singles title. Her opponent in the finals was Rowland Hall's Blake Harries, a two-time state champion at second singles, who Jones had already faced twice this year.
"It's really hard to beat a person three times. I was trying to keep to my game plan and attack her game plan all at the same time," Jones said. "She is amazing at the net, so I had to work on passing her and lobbing her."
The second doubles team of Eddy and Foreman claimed their first state championship, defeating defending champion Sydney Hartsell and her new partner Madison Allred of Rowland Hall, to seal the tie and the state title for the Jayhawks.
In first doubles, Davisson and her partner Erin Montgomery made it to the semifinals before losing to Laekyn Shumway and Generra Nielson of San Juan.
Losing five seniors and with only the Montgomery twins returning next year, the Jayhawks may face a rebuilding year, but for now are only basking in the glory of finally winning both region and state.
"The best part is that we get a new banner in the gym," Mijer laughed.