The Dunlap High School girls tennis team achieved their best-ever performance in the Illinois High School Association Class 1A girls tennis state finals. Held in the Chicago suburbs on Saturday, the Eagles claimed a well-deserved third place finish, elevating their program to new heights. Leading the way were doubles partners Sophie Muir and Alassea Michel, who secured a commendable third-place finish.
Dunlap coach Pat Gornik praised the team effort that led to their success, emphasizing the focus on individual performance. He expressed pride in the team’s dedication and described their achievement as a long-awaited blessing. Gornik also acknowledged the privilege of coaching such a talented group.
The state tournament included 13 players from the Peoria-area, as reported by the Journal Star. Muir and Michel’s outstanding performance in the third-place match, where they triumphed over Tara Sawhney and Isabela Ji of Chicago University, secured the highest individual finish in the history of Dunlap’s girls tennis program.
This accomplishment follows the achievement of a Richwoods tandem last season, making them the first Peoria-area girls players in over 30 years to claim third place in the state finals. Muir and Michel closed out their season with a remarkable record of 36 wins and 8 losses, contributing significantly to Dunlap’s overall success.
The team’s outstanding performance earned them a state trophy, surpassing their previous best finish of seventh place in the prior season. No other Peoria-area team managed to finish in the top 29. Gornik commended the resilience and determination displayed by his players throughout their rollercoaster matches, underscoring Muir and Michel’s consistency as a doubles team.
How the Dunlap lineup fared
Maya Baman, a singles player for Dunlap, reached the fourth round of the consolation bracket, earning her third-team all-state honors. Shikha Agarwal, the team’s No. 1 singles player, had a strong performance, winning her first three matches and securing a spot in the quarterfinals of the championship bracket. Although she lost in the consolation quarterfinals, her effort earned her second-team all-state honors.
The doubles team of Emily Klemens and Isabella Gusso managed to win two matches before exiting the tournament in the third round of consolation.
Elsewhere in Class 1A
In Class 1A, the Metamora doubles team of Brianna Bessert and Emma Hernandez also achieved a notable third-team all-state recognition with a 3-2 performance at the state finals. Lexi Burton, a singles player for the Redbirds, did not fare as well, losing both of her matches. Chloe Kendall, a freshman from Morton High School, reached the second round of consolation, finishing with a 2-1 record at state.
Richwoods in Class 2A
After their successful run in Class 1A last season, Richwoods faced new challenges in Class 2A this year, finishing outside the top 30. Despite the shift, Julia Wojtowicz and Olivia Reynolds, a decorated doubles team from Richwoods, competed against the No. 1 seeds from Orland Park Sandburg, Maia, and Estela Loureiro. Although they were defeated in the first round, Wojtowicz and Reynolds rallied to win three consecutive matches in the consolation bracket before bowing out in the fourth round. Theresa Bartelme, a singles player for Richwoods, was unsuccessful in her matches as well.
For more coverage on local tennis stars and their remarkable journeys, check out this article.
Dave Eminian is the Journal Star sports columnist, covering Bradley
Jessica Roberts serves up the latest in the world of tennis. With a love for the racket sport, she reports on tennis matches, player rankings, and Grand Slam events, ensuring readers stay informed about the tennis world.