Freshman Miranda Deng wasted little time establishing herself as the top talent on Wootton’s loaded girls’ tennis roster this fall. But at Thursday’s Montgomery County championships, the aggressive lefty baseliner was tested on the biggest stage of her young high school career.
Deng won the No. 1 singles title on a cold, windy day at Blake, grinding out a three-set victory over Whitman senior Kamilla Beisenova, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0.
The Patriots had already claimed their first outright county team title after Wednesday’s semifinals, but Deng’s triumph gave them one more reason to celebrate.
“It feels great,” Deng said after the nearly two-and-a-half hour match. “I came into the season with no expectations of this.”
Deng found a worthy adversary in Beisenova, whom she beat earlier in the year, 7-6, 6-4, to finish the season undefeated.
“She’s a tough opponent, and I had to learn to be more patient,” Deng said. “She runs down a lot of balls.”
The Patriots finished with 26 points and Churchill and Whitman tied for second place with 17 points apiece. Sherwood and Richard Montgomery shared third place with 10 points.
The teams were awarded one point for each match a singles player or doubles team won in the four singles and three doubles tournaments.
Wootton, which shared the 2011 county title with Churchill and Whitman, capped a 12-0 regular season with a dominant performance in Thursday’s finals.
The Patriots won three of the four singles flights and took two of the three doubles titles. Joining Deng as county champions were teammates Rebecca Wuren at No. 3 singles, Hannah Hwong at No. 4 singles, Kelly Chen and Kathy Kim at No. 1 doubles and Shelby McGinty and Cherrie Wang at No. 3 doubles.
Sherwood’s Leah Owens prevented the Wootton sweep by winning No. 2 singles, and Whitman’s Emily and Miranda Tompkins won the No. 2 doubles crown.
“I’m ecstatic,” said Wootton Coach Nia Cresham, whose team returned eight starters from last year and added freshmen Deng and Wuren. “The girls have been trying for so long to win counties and this is so fulfilling for me and for them.”
With the bulk of the team returning next season, the Patriots expect continued success, with regionals next week and Maryland’s state tournament in the spring.
Asked what the next goal of hers is, Deng succinctly replied, “States.”
Panthers make it five straight
A new team tournament format couldn’t stop Holton-Arms’ streak in the ISL AA, as the Panthers topped Bullis, 5-2, to claim their fifth consecutive tournament title.
Holton-Arms won all three flights in doubles and two of the four in singles.
“Everybody was great today,” Panthers Coach Yann Auzoux said. “It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of credit goes to the girls.”
In the ISL A tournament, Georgetown Visitation edged Maret, 4-3, to win its first league title since 2005.
“This win sets the program up to do big things,” said Cubs Coach Uyo Ekandem. “The future is bright.”