Stevens wins her first women’s tennis title since 2006
For the first time since 2006, the Rapid City Stevens Raiders are state champions in women’s tennis. On Friday in Sioux Falls, the Raiders tennis team found themselves atop the team standings at the end of the event to claim the state title.
Sioux Falls Lincoln has been the State Women’s Tennis Champion for the past five years, but this year it was time for someone new to take on the role.
“Most of the people before the season ranked O’Gorman and Harrisburg as one – two, and a lot of people kind of forgot about us,” said Rapid City Stevens head tennis coach Jason Olson. “We’ve had tough games all year, and Lincoln lost some great players, and they came in. It was a great tournament, a tight tournament.”
Rapid City Stevens finished with 469.5 points, followed closely by Harrisburg at 445, who aggressively closed the gap in the doubles championship games. In singles steals, Stevens was dominant. Anna Mueller (3), Abby Sherrill (4), Emma Thurness (5) and Kaiya Parkin (6) all won state titles in their flights, while Peyton Ogle placed second in flight 2 and Alastrina Scott third in flight 1.
Stevens was due for a state championship. After all, they have been finalists in women’s tennis nine times since their last state championship a decade and a half ago.
“It’s great for these girls. That’s what it’s about, it’s about these girls. We are bringing fourteen girls on this trip and we have forty-six girls on our team. It’s all of those kids, ”Olson said. “I was lucky, this is my eighth state title as a coach between boys and girls tennis and it’s been a long time. We have about twenty second places. It’s always about the children, Stevens has no success without the children.
Winning a state championship this year has added significance for the 2021 Raiders team. This past December, assistant coach Dan Sherrill passed away. His daughter Abby, as fate willed it, won the State Fourth Singles Championship on Friday in her last competitive game of her high school career.
“[Dan Sherrill], my assistant coach, passed away last year and we were all determined to win and honor a title. With Abby being a senior, her daughter on our team, so we’ve kind of had that goal all year, ”Olson exclaimed. “If something got tough, we’d say ‘Hey remember, we’re playing for something bigger than us’, and I think that helped those kids. But it’s just a team, everyone. world scored, everyone was on the podium, it’s a team effort.
Friday’s state championship is the fifth state title for the Stevens women’s tennis program since the sport was sanctioned in 1973. 2002 was their first.