Sacred Heart sophomore Ellie Hammond capped an undefeated season by beating teammate Lilah Shallcross 6-0, 7-5 at the KHSAA Girls State Tennis Championships.
“I’ve been working on this for a very long time,” Hammond said. “Being here and winning is surreal.”
Hammond finished 26-0 this season and she was thrilled to face another Valkyrie for gold.
“When Lilah won to make the final, I was so happy,” Hammond said. “I was so happy that we were both in the final. I’ve known Lilah since I was 8 years old, and to face her in a state final was really awesome.”
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Although Hammond finished undefeated, she had to endure a few matches that went into the third sets in order to keep the mark unblemished. Hammond credits those moments for giving him confidence.
“If you win a tight game, once you’re close again in a situation like the final, you have confidence in yourself,” Hammond said. “You’re like, ‘I’ve been here before. I can do this.'”
Sacred Heart head coach Whitney Thompson thinks Hammond and Shallcross surprised a lot of people by both making the women’s state final after Carrie Beckman and Ellie Eades accomplished the feat last season.
“It’s really special,” said Thompson, whose Valkyries team also won its fourth straight state tag team title. “We had that last year, and I don’t think anyone in their wildest dreams thought we would have that again this year with two completely different girls playing for us. It’s really special for both of them. “
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Contact Jonathan Saxon at JSaxon@gannett.com or 502-715-1393 and follow him on Twitter at @TheSleepyScribe.