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All-County Girls Tennis: Garner meets her standards

June 09, 2013|By DANIEL KAUFFMAN | kauffman@herald-mail.com
  • Clear Spring senior Cayla Garner is the 2013 Herald-Mail Washington County Girls Tennis Player of the Year.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Clear Spring senior Cayla Garner set lofty standards for herself before the tennis season.

“I’m a very competitive person, so I set high goals for myself and I wanted to try to be undefeated and win player of the year,” Garner said. “I just took it match by match, and that’s what happened.”

Garner rose from third doubles as a sophomore to first doubles late in her junior season, then all the way to first singles this season. She responded with a 13-0 record in the regular season — meeting her undefeated goal — before teaming with Corey McClure to win the Washington County Tournament mixed doubles title and finish second at the Region I tournament.

Garner now has her other goal: She is the 2013 Herald-Mail Washington County Girls Tennis Player of the Year.

“It’s a great honor to be named player of the year,” Garner said.

“I definitely wasn’t thinking I was going to be this good. There was good competition in the county and I’m just very happy I got this award.”

Garner’s success didn’t catch Blazers coach Lisa Shives by surprise.

“We actually expected this,” Shives said. “Cayla is the type of girl, when tennis practice is over, she goes down to the track and runs her own workout program all the time. She’s just very determined and always wants to improve.

“She’s so fast, being a soccer player helped her footwork out, and she picks up things very quickly and never gets down. Every now and then she has a match that starts out slow but she’d always pick it up and do what she had to do to come out on top.”

Garner made the transition from doubles to singles for the start of the season, then had to make the transition back to doubles.

“I started out playing at The Tennis Club (in Zullinger, Pa.) and played a lot of singles there, so I slowly started learning how to play,” Garner said. “The most challenging thing to learn how to do was to work my way to the net and put away the shots, and hitting deep enough to keep opponents behind the baseline.

“(Mixed doubles) didn’t come 100 percent natural like it did my junior year,” Garner said. “Whenever Corey was in the back, I could trust him, and when I was in the back, I had to adjust where I was hitting it and not hit it to the front player.”

Garner’s only trip to the state tournament ended with a first-round loss to Churchill’s top-seeded sibling duo of Michael and Katie Gouch, who swept to the state title without losing — or being threatened in — a single set.

“I knew we were going to see competition we’d never seen before, and drawing the No. 1 seed, we knew it was going to be challenging,” Garner said. “The one thing I took away from states is seeing that level of competition. I don’t regret that. It was an honor playing them and seeing how good they are.”

Joining Garner on the All-County team are:

Alisha Adkins, South Hagerstown

Sophomore went 12-6 at No. 1 singles, finished second at the county tournament and fourth at the Region I tournament.

Caroline Bradford and Emily Irwin, North Hagerstown

The seniors teamed to go 13-8 at No. 1 doubles, finishing second at the county tournament and fourth in Region I.

Hannah Froehlich, Boonsboro

Senior went 13-6 at No. 1 singles and won the county tournament title.

Samantha Michael and Zoie O’Neal, Clear Spring

Michael, a senior, and O’Neal, a sophomore, teamed to go 19-1 at No. 1 doubles, winning the county tournament title and taking third in Region I.

Madeleine Niang, South Hagerstown

Senior went 12-3 at No. 2 singles and finished third at the county tournament.

HONORABLE MENTION

Boonsboro — Cindy Poling. Clear Spring — Kim Jardine, Victoria Lulciuc, Emma Seibert, Emily Staley. North Hagerstown — Maddie Dunn, Cate Hershey, Alexus Rivas, Tiffany Ross, Serena Seiler, Morgann Wilcox. Saint James — Sarah DeWitt, Kathryn McEvoy. Smithsburg — Alyssa White. South Hagerstown — Nikki Goodnough, Libby Jackson, Taylor Nuse, Grace Porter. St. Maria Goretti — Laura Winalski, Lauren Clopper.

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