Girls Tennis Team captures 3rd straight title

Cody Allgor | Staff Writer

The Mason Girl Tennis Team poses after earnign their 3rd consecutive State Championship. Back Row: (Left to right) Head Coach Mike Reid, Priya Bandaru, Sarah Pickens, Kelly Reid, Sanjana Reddy, Emma Kruse, Annie Kruse, Megan Li, Ananya Aggarwal, and Assistant Coach Mike Kindred. Bottom Row: (Left to right) Shyla Aggarwal, Harista Uppuganti, Risha Chada, Rashi Loni, Raina Chada, and Anna Tonkal.

The Comets Girls Tennis team has done it again.

Mason secured their 3rd consecutive Ohio Tennis Coaches Association (OTCA) state title on Sunday, October 20 after sweeping Magnificat in their championship match. The Comets quickly won the three matches they needed by a singles win from Emma Kruse, and doubles efforts from Sanjana Reddy and Annie Kruse, as well as Megan Li and Kelly Reid — with the whole team giving up a combined total of just five games.

Going into the final four the two previous years, the Comets weren’t necessarily the favorites to win it all, but coming off a dominant undefeated regular season, this year they were. Mason Head Coach Mike Reid said that being the outright favorite put a little more pressure on the team than in years past.

“The last two years, we were probably the underdog going into the final four, and this year, we were probably the favorite,” Reid said. “I’d say the kids were a little bit more nervous this year because they had something to lose rather than something to steal from somebody else.”

Junior Annie Kruse and senior Sanjana Reddy clean swept their finals match, making quick work of Magnificat. Kruse said the talent of her teammates, and confidence that they could utilize their experience to win again, kept her calm on match day.

“I was really nervous going into the final match,” Kruse said. “But Sanjana and I were confident that we could pull through and provide for the team, especially since we had other good matches to back us up and a lot of other good players.”

Junior Raina Chada and sophomore Anna Tonkal only gave up one game in the match they played in the semifinals versus Upper Arlington. Chada said that a reason the Comets wanted to win quickly was to get their teammates who had the tougher opponents a break.

“We just wanted to try to win as fast as possible in order to take pressure away from our one singles,” Chada said. “She would’ve kept playing for longer and we didn’t want her to do that and be tired because she had the harder matches.”

Greater Miami Conference Girls Tennis Athlete of the Year, senior Ananya Aggarwal, who also finished second in individual state championships the day before the team played for team state championships, said that it was nice that she didn’t need to finish her match to clinch the title, and she could rely on her teammates. 

“I was tired from individual states and I already played two matches the day before that so I was already sore and it was just a sense of relief,” Aggarwal said. “I was really proud of my teammates for bringing it home and happy that I had them there.”

For Reddy, her domination in her doubles match with Kruse held a little extra meaning. Reddy said that just losing one game was special because it showed how much the Comets earned the title, and allowed her to go out with pride.

“Being a senior provided a little extra push because I really wanted to make these matches count,” Reddy said. “Dominating like that was great especially since I was out there with Annie who is an exceptional doubles player. By only dropping one game in the state final four matches showed our opponents and everyone else that we for sure deserved the title.”

Aggarwal, who will be playing for Williams college next year, is one of the few players who has seen each of the three consecutive state championships. Aggarwal said that every year winning has felt different because of the special, unique bond of of each team.

“It didn’t feel like I had already done it twice,” Aggarwal said. “Whenever we win it feels like it’s the first time because it’s just so many emotions and there’s still new people on the team. They don’t know what it feels like so then you have to show them.”

Reid and his players accomplished a feat that many coaches will never reach with the three-peat. Reid hopes this year motivates his players, especially his young ones, to get better so that they can go far into state once again.

“I hope the championship inspires them to get better,” Reid said. “We got some young kids that are good right now but they really need to improve to get to the level that they’ve seen this year. And if these kids improve the same as some of our players this year, I think we can develop into another really good team.”

Reddy, who committed to play in college for the Cincinnati Bearcats next year in August, said that winning state once again was the best way to end out her time playing for the Comets.

“I’ve made so many memories and I have really been through it all with these girls,” Reddy said. “Mason tennis has been such a fun experience and it’s hard to say goodbye but I’m excited for college tennis. Winning state again is the best ending to my high school tennis career that I could’ve asked for.”

Photo contributed by Mason Tennis Team