Girls’ tennis dominates state again


courtesy of Rob Valentin

Bella Lorenzini, sophomore, celebrates during a match.

Not many teams have 15 state championships and 21 straight conference titles on their resume, but Central’s girls’ tennis team is an exception.

Girls’ tennis took home another state title on Oct. 25 after playing an intense three day tournament.

“The state experience runs the gamut of emotions,” said Robin Kramer, the varsity head coach. “To put it in perspective, a tennis Grand Slam tournament has a 128 draw that is played over the course of two weeks. The state tournament has a 128 draw that is played over three days. It’s long and tough.”

Even though it was a strenuous few days, the players took it in stride.

“The first few days were pretty easy for us,” said Erika Oku, a sophomore who played at the tournament. “When it got to the semis, our opponents got tougher, but we were still able to win that match.”

Oku and her doubles partner played against players from Stevenson High School, one of their biggest competitors, in the finals. Although they came in second, they’re still proud of the results.

“I am still shocked by the fact that we won the whole thing. Winning state has been my ultimate goal since I was little,” Oku said.

The tennis teams at Central have always been one of the best in the state, and this year it was no different.

“We were up 10 points on Saturday, which is really good,” said Rugile Valiunaite, a senior and a multiple-time state player. “No one could beat us, and we had the state title no doubt.”

But their success isn’t all natural. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to be dubbed a Red Devil tennis player.

“The players on the team are committed to tennis the entire year. They play a lot of United States Tennis Association tournaments,” Kramer said. “They take countless lessons and do a lot of off the court training.”

It wasn’t just the players on the court that put in the work; many girls who didn’t play in the tournament still came to support their teammates.

“Them being there was the biggest key. They help each player play the best that they can, because they know that their team has their back no matter what,” Valiunaite said.

The team isn’t done with state championships, however. Kramer and her returning players are already preparing for next year’s season.

“We put a total number of state titles on the back of our shirts. Our shirts this year will have 15 on the back. Next year, the players will want to change that to 16,” Kramer said.

And with that, the student body will await another celebratory chalk mural across the school walls next year.