The Rams tennis team earned 7th in the MHSAA State Finals. ~ Contributed Photo
The Rockford girls varsity tennis team ended the 2019 season the same way they started: as one of the Top 10 teams in Michigan. The Lady Rams set a goal of making it back to the D1 State Championship, and after winning the OK Red Conference and finishing as runners-up at their Regional, they headed to Midland last weekend to take on the best teams from around the state. The Rams placed seventh in the Finals, tallying 11 points.
Six of Rockford’s eight flights won their first round.
The Rams had some rough draws, with many playing the eventual winner of the tournament in early rounds. Alyana Bowman No. 1 singles earned a first-round bye, then blanked her next opponent 6-0, 6-0, and then fell to the eventual champion, Kari Miller from Ann Arbor Pioneer. No. 2 singles Teresa Mosquera also received a first-round bye, dominated her next opponent 6-2, 6-0, and then fell to eventual champion Ann Arbor Huron’s Miriam Gandham. The No. 2 doubles team of Chloe VanEck and Emily Ramsay topped their first opponent 7-6(4), 6-2, and then fell to the eventual winner from Grosse Point South. The No. 3 doubles team of Zuzu Trottier and Brooke Dalka received a bye in their first round, blanked the team from Plymouth 6-0, 6-0 in their second round and then fell to the team from Midland Dow. The No. 4 doubles team of Delaney Emerson and Maggie Van Pelt won their first match against Troy Athens and then had the unfortunate circumstance of facing the eventual winning duo from Bloomfield Hills, Susan Baeenen and Emma Gray on their second round.
The No. 1 doubles team of Abby Ducharme and Delanie Reibschleger qualified for the semifinals on Day Two of the tournament. The seniors fell to the eventual state champion team from Bloomfield Hills in a hard-fought battle on Saturday but walked away with their heads held high. Abby and Delanie were partners their freshman year and reunited in this final season to lead the team both on and off the court.
For Abby Ducharme, it was the perfect ending.
"As sad as I am to see high school tennis come to an end, it’s been one heck of a journey,” she shares. “Delanie and I played together freshman year and to come together again and play our senior year together was pretty awesome. Delanie is one of the strongest people I know and to have her as my partner was great."
"I wouldn’t have wanted my high school tennis career to end any differently, with the same encouraging partner who started it with me. We have grown as players, partners, but most importantly as people. Though we experienced great success this season on the court, off the court provided it’s own challenges. Mentally, I had a lot going on in my personal life that made focusing on tennis difficult. I needed a partner by my side on the tennis court, and I couldn’t have asked for a better one than Abby."
Ram head coach Tom Huizing says these young ladies, and the other seven seniors on the team, have left a huge impact on the program – and some big shoes to fill!
Rockford ended the season at No. 7 in the final D1 MHSAA standings, the highest-ranked team in the West Michigan area.
Great season, Rams!
The No. 1 doubles team of Delanie Riebschleger and Abby Ducharme. ~ Contributed Photo