Sports

Lindsey Newman looks to three-peat as state champ

Falcon tennis player Lindsey Newman is on the cusp of making South Whidbey High School history in May by becoming the first individual three-time state tennis champion. Of course, every top player in the league will be out to stop her.   - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
Falcon tennis player Lindsey Newman is on the cusp of making South Whidbey High School history in May by becoming the first individual three-time state tennis champion. Of course, every top player in the league will be out to stop her.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

Can she do it?

Falcon tennis star Lindsey Newman is on the threshold of repeating as state 2A tennis champion for the third straight year, an achievement unsurpassed in South Whidbey history.

“Well, I’m going to try, but there are a lot of girls out there gunning for me,” Newman said.

In order to amp up her game, she’s been playing against former Falcon players, both men and women, concentrating on her patented serve and working on her net game.

“Guys offer a different style and they’re extremely competitive, which is a bonus for me,” she said. “For now, I’m taking each match as it comes and trying to be ready for the unexpected.”

Falcon coach Tom Kramer, now in his 35th year as head coach, said Newman is a known quantity; competitive, mentally tough and has the results to show for it.

“She’s also playing in the Northwest League, toughest in the state, with schools like Squalicum, Sehome and Bellingham,” he said. “Each has excellent first singles players. Nothing is written until she writes it.”

The tennis team’s record for 2008 was 12-3, and Kramer hopes to equal or better that number.

Kramer was pleased with this year’s turnout, when 38 girls showed up.

“We have some decent experience this season and I would say I’m cautiously optimistic,” he said. For Kramer, that’s the equivalent of a bright blue-and-white neon sign over the high school courts, screaming: “Watch out, we’re hot!”

Beyond Newman, Natalie Wheeler and Shannon Craig are showing real strength in singles play. On the doubles side, Natalie Comfort, Nicole Zalewski, Katie Holt, Julia Iverson, Ana Weeks, Jen Gemkow and Reilly O’Sullivan are showing prowess.

As to which players will match up with which, there are a lot of factors involved.

“Depends on how it all filters out in the next few weeks,” Kramer explained. “How they mesh as a doubles team, their synergy and ability to communicate in the heat of battle are all important.

“They will sink or swim together, not separately.”

Whether the girls are singles or doubles players, Kramer said the ability to focus on what is relevant to the game remains the key to winning.

“Kids get distracted by extraneous things; a hot date that night, a car driving by, the sports guy taking photos, whatever,” Kramer said. “But if they can remain mentally sharp, they can do anything.”

As Kramer’s number-one pupil, Newman, will attest.

South Whidbey’s first match is today at Granite Falls. Fans of the game can catch Newman & Company at 3:45 p.m. Friday,

March 20, when the girls host the Coupeville Wolves.

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