Jeff Demaray, the long-time coach of Rochester Mayo girls tennis, has become a staple at the tennis state tournament for nearly three decades. Under his guidance, the Spartans have made 26 appearances in the past 27 years.
However, it wasn’t until Wednesday that Demaray finally emerged as a champion.
Mayo completed a dominant undefeated season (26-0) by securing a wire-to-wire victory over Edina, winning the Class 2A team championship with a score of 6-1.
Despite being the most successful program in state history, Edina faced an uphill battle in the team finals. Falling behind early and trailing 3-0, their players fought back, giving hope for an impressive comeback.
But the Spartans remained unshaken. They secured their fourth team point and clinched the victory when sophomore Ana Medina triumphed in a thrilling 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 match at No. 4 singles. Medina later admitted she wasn’t aware of the importance of her match in securing the championship.
“I had no idea, but it does feel really, really good,” Medina expressed, wearing a broad smile. “This is something we’ve been focused on all year.”
Mayo had a strong support system during the team tournament. Two buses were chartered to transport fans to the Baseline Tennis Center in Minneapolis, and their unwavering presence lifted the team. Fans passionately cheered for every Mayo success, belted out the school fight song after the victory, and celebrated with an array of enthusiastic cheers during the awards ceremony.
“This team truly deserved this victory because of their tireless work, not just during the season, but also throughout the offseason,” Demaray acknowledged. “And the support from all those fans was simply incredible. It was an unforgettable moment for the Mayo tennis family to finally attain a team state championship.”
Claire Loftus, Mayo’s No. 1 singles player and one of the top players in the state, allowed herself a moment of elation, setting aside her usual composure and expressing her delight in what the Spartans had accomplished.
“It’s truly amazing to be the team that made history,” she exclaimed. “With the incredible support we received, reflecting on the legacy of MGT [Mayo girls tennis] and being the first team to achieve this feat means the world to all of us.”
The possibility of a Rochester sweep of the two girls tennis team championships came to an end when Blake defeated defending champion Rochester Lourdes 5-2 to claim the Class 1A title.
Lourdes entered the tournament as the top seed, but Blake proved to be the superior team, winning three out of four singles matches and two out of three doubles matches.
Blake’s senior Nana Vang set the tone with a dominant 6-0, 6-0 victory over Lourdes’ Caroline Daly at No. 1 singles. Seventh-grader Sienna Szerda secured a solid 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 4 singles, propelling the Bears to victory.
Blake achieved four of their five victories in straight sets, showcasing their dominance.
This marks Blake’s 14th girls tennis state championship, capping off their season with a 13-7 record.
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.