It was a unique season for Chesaning girl tennis.
Coached by Thomas Teal, the Indians qualified as a team in Division 4 and placed in a tie for eighth out of 24 qualifying teams.
But the performance was highlighted by the play of Anna Bates at No. 1 singles. Bates won two matches and advanced to the state quarterfinals. It’s the first year, Teal said, one of his female athletes has advanced that far in the state tourney.
She started out with a win over Elizabeth Hartz of Niles Brandywine 6-2, 6-0. Then she beat Abbey Behan of Essexville-Garber 6-2, 6-2. She took on Natalie Moyer of Kalamazoo Hackett and lost 6-0, 6-0. Moyer wound up winning the individual title. BH Academy of the Sacred Heart won the team title.
The team had also qualified for the finals two years ago.
Bates is a senior this year and has played No. 1 the past two seasons.
“Anna has improved significantly,” Teal said. “Last year she played No. 1 singles and had 12 wins at that position. This year, her record was 26-5.”
Bates’ consistent backdoor play has been a strength, noted Teal.
Teal expected a lot from the Indians this spring, and his expectations were exceeded.
“I knew we had a very nice team,” he said. “We returned everyone but one player from last year’s team. I knew going into the season we had a nice team. I was very pleasantly surprised and proud of the girls that they were able to play that experience and improvement to really jell as a team and be able to win their conference (TVC). They won the Tri Valley Conference 9-0 and finished eighth in the state among all the teams.
“I wasn’t terribly surprised but was proud of their accomplishments.”