Coronado’s entire girls tennis roster played against Bishop Gorman in the Class 4A state championship Friday at Darling Tennis Center.
So when an NIAA staffer facilitated a photo opportunity for the Cougars’ starters after their 12-6 victory, Coronado first-year coach David Willingham instructed his backups to storm the podium.
“Everybody got a chance to be a part of (the win),” Willingham said. “As a team, that’s what you want.”
The Cougars (15-0) steamrolled the Gaels (16-2) to complete a perfect season and claim their first state championship since 2003.
Hannah Grossman, Megan King and Carly Poste were all 2-0 in singles play, and Ava Nhaisi teamed with Sidra Wohlwend to post a 2-0 doubles record.
Coronado clinched the team championship after the second of three six-point legs, and the starters rambunctiously cheered as Kailyn Heiss, Maddie Gorman and the rest of their teammates completed the victory.
“I just wanted to be definitely an inspiration and a motivation for others,” said Grossman, a senior captain and singles state qualifier. “This is our goal. We set this at the beginning of the year.”
Grossman and her fellow seniors reached the state tournament as freshmen in 2014, missed it in 2015 and settled for a runner-up finish last season.
Willingham, a longtime tennis instructor, arrived from Texas and took over a program rife with talent and hungry for success.
The Cougars won 12 of their 15 matches by double figures, and Willingham said he “started seeing some pretty special things happening” throughout the season.
“When I first met with the seniors several months ago, they said this is what they wanted,” he said. “I (told them to) do it and have a good time along the way. They certainly did.”
The Meadows followed Coronado with its own jovial celebration after a 15-3 win over Boulder City in the Class 3A championship match.
Lindsay Hofflander and Audrey Gigore combined to go 5-0 in singles play, and Olivia Waysack finished 2-1 to help the Mustangs earn their third consecutive state title.
The doubles pairings of Claire Strimling and Isabella Monroe, Elena Paradiso and Shayna Indyg and Grace Nemec and Peyton Barsel were all 2-0.
“It’s nice to have a three-peat for us, that’s important,” Meadows coach Frideric Prandecki said. “It’s time to celebrate, man. This is exciting.”
Prandecki said this year’s roster had the best chemistry of any girls team he’s coached, and mentioned the importance of its togetherness.
“I love to be a part of this team,” Waysack said. “I think it’s really improtant that we did this together.”
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