CHARLESTON - Parkersburg Catholic junior tennis player Kate Clowes summed up the final day of the state tournament here Saturday night perfectly.
"Getting the state title is just great," said Clowes, who helped the Crusaderettes win the Class AA/A crown for just the second time in school history and the first since 1998.
"It feels like all of our hard work paid off and we managed to squeeze it out in the end with a lot of suspense."
Photo by Jay W. Bennett
Parkersburg Catholic’s girls narrowly captured the Class AA/A state tennis tournament on Saturday in Charleston following a 12-hour day. Pictured for the Crusaderettes are, from left, Kate Clowes, Jillie Wiseman, head coach Ignacio Cardenas, Erica Tracewell and Audrey Eisenmann. Absent were Maria Petrella and Haley Yeomans.
Indeed that was the case as PCHS scored a 9-8 team victory against runner-up Bluefield, which lost at No. 3 doubles to the freshman duo of Myla Bryant and Sara Lambert of Champanville. Had the Beavers won that match it would've been the Crusaderettes going home in second place.
Of course, Clowes and No. 2 double teammate Jillie Wiseman had a chance to seal the state title, but fell short 2-6, 6-1 and 6-4 to Chapmanville's Haley Justice and Cassidy Lewis in the finals. Clowes also lost a close 6-4, 6-3 No. 3 singles battle to Parvance Karimpour of Huntington St. Joe.
"It's been a lot of ups and downs. My singles match was really tough," Clowes added. "The doubles match was a little bit frustrating because we felt like we could win. We knew that we could win it. We had beaten those girls before.
"We were frustrated with the way we played and we knew we could do better and we're ready to do it again next year. We're super excited for the Champanville girls too because they're nice also. They've got a lot of potential on their team and they are in our region so it's always good to see our region win, too."
Wiseman actually earned the only point on Saturday for PCHS. The 11th-grader did that by defeating Madonna's Morgan Duerr 7-5 and 6-0 to capture the No. 4 singles title..
"It's definitely been a long few days, but it was well worth the wait," Wiseman admitted. "I couldn't be any happier, honestly. We just wanted to make it to state. Last year no one from our team made it and this year we were hoping to just get there and this is beyond our expectations.
"We knew we had a great chance of becoming state champions because we come from the toughest region. But, when we got here we kind of felt out of place because we had missed a year. It was in the back of our minds, but it wasn't something we were expecting."
Head coach Ignacio Cardenas referenced an old saying former PCHS head coach Joe Joyce used to tell him all the time.
"He told me for the last 12 years that No. 3 doubles teams win state championships," said the coach. "But, I never thought it would be someone else's. I still can't figure out where we won enough to win, but I'm not going to turn it down."
Cardenas said he can't even remember talking about winning a state championship at any point during the campaign.
"If you would've told me that the girls were going to hang a banner in the gymnasium," Cardenas said while fighting back a couple tears of exhuberence, "I would've told you that you were crazy.
"I would've said you're crazy and I never thought we were going to regionals and win. It just came together. They are a good bunch of girls and they worked hard. I think maybe this will make them hungry for next year."