The Flagstaff High School girls tennis team just wrapped up an undefeated season. But that’s just part of the story.
The program is just three years old. Most of the girls didn’t even know how to keep score that first year, says their coach, Greg Kleiner.
Senior co-captain Emily Bearchell hadn’t played the game until she joined the team as a freshman, when the program was still in the first ‘exhibition’ season. To put an exclamation mark to the story of her progress, Bearchell finished out the regular season with victories in the last two matches, against Sinagua HS and Mingus HS. At the time, Mingus was the No. 2 team in the Grand Canyon Region.
The Eagles wrapped up a 12-0 regular season with a sweep of Sinagua HS and earned a No. 4 seed for the 4A-II state tournament.
In the 9-0 Sinagua finale, the Eagles’ No. 1 singles player, Aubrey Danks, won handily over Tara Callan, 6-2, 6-3. And No. 2 seed Lynae Bustamante won her match, 6-4, 6-1.
Bearchell led a group of victorious teammates in that match that included Kate Newton, Taryn Laird, and Katie Broyles.
Danks, the top singles player, is a freshman this year, with three years of upside ahead of her, and the squad has enjoyed good depth this year. Coach Kleiner also feels his JV squad is good enough that some of the players are already ready for varsity play.
It took just three years to get them out of the nest, but it looks like the Eagles are ready to soar.