South Whidbey sophomore Lindsey Newman triumphed over her Lynden High School nemesis Saturday to take the state title in tennis singles.
Newman beat Erica Bosman 6-0, 7-5 to earn the 2A crown.
As a team, the Falcon girls placed fourth overall, good enough for a trophy.
With only her coach and family in attendance at the Yakima Tennis Club east of the Cascades — no screaming support from her Falcon teammates — Newman captured the seventh individual title for South Whidbey since the tennis program began in 1976.
“It was hard for her to be there by herself,” her mother Pam Newman said. “But she was gracious to her opponents, concentrated on her game and made all of us very proud.”
With temperatures hovering in the mid to upper 80s on Friday, Newman bested juniors Laura Mahon (6-0, 6-0) from Mark Morris in Seattle and Casie Snyder (6-1, 6-1) from East Valley in Yakima. While Mahon has specialized in tennis only, Snyder has lettered in tennis and volleyball.
The next morning Newman overcame Sequim’s Justine Textor 6-3, 6-1 in the semi-finals before advancing to the championship match.
Textor, a senior, was a three-sport standout at Sequim.
“Justine has lettered all four years in basketball, swimming and tennis,” Sequim athletic director Chris Olson said. “She’s an outstanding athlete.”
All three of Newman’s opponents were seeded first or second in their respective districts.
The real challenge was Bosman, last year’s Northwest District champion and the conference MVP. Newman lost to her back in March at Lynden, then won at the Class 2A Northwest District Tournament championship, beating her 4-7, 6-4, 7-6.
In the battle for the state title, however, Newman handed Bosman her first loss of the year.
“That’s just how it goes against Lindsey because she is so solid,” said Lynden head coach Trey Ballard.
“She doesn’t look like she is the most athletic player in the world but she gets to everything because of her anticipation. And you just can’t coach that,” he said.
Newman knew she’d face Bosman again at state. And the contest got interesting at the end.
“Erica played well in Yakima,” Newman said. “She came back in the second set and I faltered a bit. But it was the last game and I wanted it more than she did. I’ll see her again next year.”
For the Newmans and South Whidbey, the finish was fantastic.
Newman served the final point; Bosman returned a hard shot to the far corner and Newman called it out.
“She was facing away from my wife and I,” Falcon coach Tom Kramer recalled. “She hesitated, turned and flashed all of us a smile that was worth the trip over. She played smart, smooth tennis, kept to her game plan, and won.”
Kramer said Newman was mentally tough, and not the same player he had seen at the start of the season.
“Over the last few months she added dimensions to her game that weren’t there before,” he said. “There was a lot of focus and hard work involved, as you’d expect.”
Newman also played well during the hottest weather she’d experienced all year.
“It was a long two days but it was exhilarating and worth all the effort,” she said.
Since the Falcon tennis program began in 1976, there have been seven individual titles and five team titles; doubles champs Jennie Saephen and Kylie Boyzm won in 2004.
Kramer added that state finals is a unique experience for any athlete, especially one as young as Newman.
“She really made the most of the opportunity; I told her to enjoy it while she can,” he said.
Last year, Newman labored in the shadow of her sister, Caitie.
Not any more — Newman is a three-sport athlete, playing volleyball in the fall and basketball in winter. Tennis is her favorite sport, however.
Newman said she was happy her hard work paid off, and was excited to hear that other Falcons on the track team had won big at state.
The day after the championships, Newman went back to work. But not on the courts; instead, she returned to her job as a breakfast server at the Useless Bay Country Club.
She said she hopes to return to state next season.
“I’m definitely going to try again next year. I know the competition will be gunning for me but I really love tennis,” she said.