HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS

TENNIS: Hale, McLean lead Athenians to county title

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For the first time since 2016 the Crawfordsville girls’ tennis team has claimed the county championship. The Athenians picked up a 5-0 win over North Montgomery on Thursday night with an all-around team performance. 

Senior Lauren Hale picked up a 6-3, 6-4 win at No. 1 singles over Kaitlyn Greenlee and fellow senior Hannah McLean defeated Sydnee Turner 6-1, 6-2 at the No. 2 singles spot. 

“County was one of the goals that we had coming into the season,” Athenian coach Jeff Strickland said. “To pick up victories over North and South this week says a lot about our girls and their work ethic, perseverance, and character.” 

After missing out on their first season as upperclassmen and getting to experience becoming leaders, both Hale and McLean have embraced the leadership role this season both on and off the court. 

“Both Lauren and I — I think we were both eager to get back to playing,” McLean said. “We are really trying to translate that energy toward the underclassmen, especially those that didn’t get to have a season last year.” 

“We’ve really been working to build a family this year,” Hale added. “Hannah and I are best friends so that chemistry was already there. Coach has really been encouraging us to talk with one another and that’s another way we’ve been building chemistry as a team.”

Strickland who speaks very highly of both of his seniors, knows that even they may be soft-spoken, that doesn’t diminish their ability to lead the team. 

“They lead our team in the way you want athletes to lead a team,” he said. “They’ve been incredible at everything they do and are always giving 100 percent and encouraging everybody both on and off the court.” 

Samantha Rohr notched a 6-2, 6-3 win over Carlie Desmet at the No. 3 singles. The duo of Cathleen McGrady and Ella Hudson defeated Joy Davis and Allison Guard 6-4, 6-3 at the No. 1 doubles position, while Lilly Klingbeil and Elyse Widmer picked up a 6-1, 6-0 win over Courtney Engels and Paige Hudson. 

“Crawfordsville is a really consistent team,” North Montgomery coach Shannon Collier said. “The girls felt like they put out their best effort and that’s all I can ask for. These girls are still learning strategy a majority of them are still learning the varsity game. We’re just asking that they continue to make improvements each match.”

After falling to Central Catholic on Wednesday, Strickland said the Athenians wanted to not only want to win the county title but also just get back in the win column. 

“I think there was a little extra energy tonight after that loss,” he said. “We played a really good match and thought we could carry that over into night. With that, it felt good to play a good team tonight, continue to play well and get a victory.”

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