Tennis roundup: B.H. Sacred Heart nets 2nd straight state title

Al Willman
Special to The Detroit News
Bloomfield Hills Sacred Heart players pose with their championship trophy on Saturday.

One point separated Bloomfield Hills Academy of the Sacred Heart and Traverse City St. Francis in the Division 4 girls tennis state finals on Saturday at Kalamazoo College. Sacred Heart, with 28 points, won its second D4 title in a row, and its fourth in the last five years.

St. Francis had 27. Ann Arbor Greenhills finished fifth with 17.

“It was such a good feeling,” Sacred Heart senior co-captain Gretchen Lemon said. “All our hard work paid off.”

Sacred Heart trailed St. Francis by one point going into Saturday’s finals, which Lemon said the team built from.

“The day started with a bunch of nerves,” she said. “All you can really do is support them. When one person won, it motivated the other people to do better. The game of tennis is very mental for me. We’re huge on cheering, especially today.”

Sacred Heart senior Selina Fuchs (23-2) won the state championship in the No. 3 singles, 6-2, 6-2.

“She’s really a natural singles player,” said Sacred Heart co-coach Judy Hehs of Fuchs, who transferred from Lake Orion prior to this season.

Lemon and fellow senior Abby Hildebrand, Sacred Heart’s No. 2 doubles team, won 6-2, 6-3 against St. Francis duo Bethany Richey and Mary Margaret Sutherland.

“We weren’t sure if we were going to beat them,” Hildebrand said. “We had no idea what to expect.”

No. 3 doubles of senior Cate Lehmann and sophomore Kathryn Monahan defended their title, with a 7-5, 6-0 win over Nicole Ehardt and Camille Madion of St. Francis.

Hildebrand said the team, which is losing five seniors, still has a good core to work from. It is returning 11 players, of which eight (three freshmen, five sophomores) are currently underclassmen.

“There’s just a lot of young, good talent,” she said.

Division 1

Midland Dow, with 33 points, won the D1 title. Northville, runner-up, 30; Grosse Pointe South, third, 18; and Ann Arbor Pioneer, fourth, 17; finished in the top five. West Bloomfield’s Anika Yarlagadda won the No. 1 singles title with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Grosse Pointe South’s Raven Neely. Northville’s No. 1 doubles team of Neha Chava and Sophie Zhuang defeated Dow’s No. 1 team of Mina Fabiano and Tatum Matthews, 6-3, 7-6.

Division 2

Birmingham Marian won the D2 title, with 32 points. Birmingham Seaholm finished fourth with 22. In the No. 4 singles flight, Marian’s Sophie Balardo (4-seed) upset 3-seed Clare Costa of East Grand Rapids, 6-1, 6-2. Marian’s No. 1 doubles team — and the top-seeded team in the flight — of Mckenna Landis and Regan Patterson went coast-to-coast, beating the 2-seed, Seaholm’s Caity Buechner and Meaghan Flynn, 6-4, 6-4.

Division 3

Detroit Country Day took the D3 team championship with 32 points. Grand Rapids Christian was the runner up with 31 points, while Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood finished third with 30. Country Day’s Sasha Hartje, the 2-seed, knocked off top-seeded Allison Motea (Cranbrook) for the No. 1 singles title, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2. Sasha’s sister, Elle Hartje and her No. 1 doubles partner Haley Mullins defeated Grand Rapids Christian’s Hannah Slenk and McKenzie Moorhead, 7-5, 6-2 for the title.

Al Willman is a freelance writer

Twitter: @AlWillmanSports