By Joshua Koch / Special Contributor
COLLEGE STATION — Even if her high school career ended on a losing note, Anne Gilliam made history for girls tennis in Dallas ISD.
The Hillcrest senior fell in straight sets to Femke Tjon-A-Joe of Corpus Christi Flour Bluff on Thursday in the semifinals of the Class 5A state tennis tournament.
“I feel like I left a mark here at Hillcrest,” Gilliam said. “That was my goal coming in and I gave it my all.”
As a sophomore, Gilliam became the first girl from a DISD school to win a state tennis title since 1961, and the first ever for the Panthers. Last year, she finished second in the mixed doubles bracket with teammate Zane Kohrs.
“She’s one of a kind,” Hillcrest coach Brett Reisman said. “She’s represented her school, her district, her city. She’s a winner.”
This season, Gilliam had to battle shoulder issues, undergoing surgery in August before making a full comeback to the court in April.
Gilliam played her first tennis of the year in the District 11-5A tournament. She still managed to claim district and regional titles to return to the state tournament for the third straight season.
Earlier on Thursday, Gilliam rallied after dropping a first-set tiebreaker to defeat Alvin Shadow Creek’s Juliana Sierra in the quarterfinals.
“I’m incredibly proud of Anne,” Reisman said. “She played her heart out. She fought off multiple match points on her serve. She held serve for her final serve of her senior year. Had an amazing career. We’re all very proud of her.”