Surprises abound in state 5A tennis tournament
BY GUERIN EMIG World Sports Writer
Sunday, May 06, 2012
5/06/12 at 4:23 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - There were plenty of headlines at the Class 5A girls state tennis tournament Saturday.
Heritage Hall, for starters, won the team championship, proving that it's going to take more than moving up from 4A to stop a mini-dynasty (that's four straight titles for the Chargers).
The Booker T. Washington duo of Lindsay Johnson and Shaina Cash stunned the field in No. 1 doubles. According to seed, Johnson and Cash should have lost in the quarterfinals to Cascia Hall, again in the semis to Duncan and then again in the final to Heritage Hall.
Instead, Johnson and Cash steamrolled right through, winning everything in straight sets, including a 6-3, 6-3 championship over Heritage Hall's Jessica Borsky and Lindsey Grace.
Then there was Peyton Jennings' charge in No. 1 singles.
The Cascia Hall sophomore gutted out her semifinal over Duncan's Brittany Toone 6-1, 1-6, 7-5. All she had to do for an encore was dethrone defending 4A singles champ Sarah Bowen of Heritage Hall in the final.
She almost pulled it off.
Jennings put away a clever volley to win her first game against Bowen, prompting a voice in her cheering section to yell: "Make her work! Make her work!"
By the end of the first set, which Jennings won 6-4, the battle cry had switched to: "You got this! It's yours!"
Jennings took a 4-2 lead in the second set, when two pieces of reality set in: Bowen wasn't 30-1 on the season for nothing, and Jennings' three-set semifinal was creeping in.
Bowen powered back to win four straight games to take the second set, then kept pushing until she'd won the third 6-2.
Jennings hit winners until the end of the match, just not as many as her senior opponent.
"I think I gave her a run for her money there. I think I scared her," she said. "In the end, she had more endurance."
Truth was, Jennings was ready to go towel off, chug a Gatorade and play again.
"Exactly," she said. "I've been in a lot of USTA tournaments with her, but we'd always missed each other. I knew she'd come out and hit hard, play big. I thought I could stay with her, though."
She nearly did more than that. Now, Jennings can use her first real state experience - she had to default last year because of toe surgery - to set herself up for an even better showing in 2013.
"I'll just try not to drag it out in the semifinals next time," she said with a smile. "I've learned that lesson."
Original Print Headline: Cascia's Jennings has spirited run
Guerin Emig 918-581-8355
Cascia Hall's Peyton Jennings fell to defending state champion Sarah Bowen, of Heritage Hall, in the Class 5A No. 1 singles championship Saturday in Oklahoma City. PAUL HELLSTERN/The Oklahoman