Scots Don’t Take Team Tennis Dynasty for Granted

In the Highland Park tennis trophy case, there’s always room for one more

With six state championships in a row, Highland Park’s annual domination in team tennis seems like a foregone conclusion.

But as players and coaches are quick to point out, staying on top isn’t as easy as it looks. Such a dynasty comes with enhanced expectations and meticulous preparation, on and off the court.

The Scots extended their state record by claiming their 22nd state title overall with a convincing 10-2 victory over Abilene Wylie in the Class 5A final.

“We had a pretty veteran team who had been through the wars,” said HP head coach Dan Holden. “They rose to the occasion and played really well. We peaked at the right time.”

As usual, the Scots featured abundant depth and experience. They won five out of seven doubles matches against Wylie and took all five singles matches before reaching the decisive 10-point total.

“We have that one-match-at-a-time mentality. It takes the whole team to win state,” said senior Bella Rosas. “The atmosphere was great, and our team was supporting us all the way to the end.”

It takes the whole team to win state.

Bella Rosas

HP faced one unfamiliar obstacle when it lost a dual match against Southlake Carroll to wrap up the regular season. The Dragons won five three-set matches to hand the Scots their first fall defeat in more than six years.

“In hindsight, I think we’re glad we lost that match,” said senior Ray Saalfield. “It was a wake-up call, and we knew it couldn’t happen again.”

Five seniors provided leadership on a team that added morning practices to its usual routine this season, in addition to the usual afternoon workouts and additional training with private coaches.

“We set the bar high,” Holden said. “We’ve earned this position. We knew everybody is going to give us their best shot. Our kids embrace that.”

Now HP will turn its attention to the spring season, where team scores don’t count. The Scots have unfinished business from a year ago when they came up empty in all five divisions.

“With the depth we have on this team. I think we’ve got a legitimate shot at two or three more state championships,” Holden said.

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