Prep tennis: Virginia's Slatten seeks big finish
If this week marks the end of Hailey Slatten's competitive tennis career, she'd like to make it memorable. The Virginia High School senior is playing in the Minnesota Class A girls tournament starting today as the No. 5-ranked Blue Devils (18-3) ...
If this week marks the end of Hailey Slatten's competitive tennis career, she'd like to make it memorable.
The Virginia High School senior is playing in the Minnesota Class A girls tournament starting today as the No. 5-ranked Blue Devils (18-3) face No. 1 Blake School in the team quarterfinals at the Reed-Sweat Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis.
Slatten and senior Katie Kingston are in the Class A doubles tournament, which starts Thursday.
Virginia is in the state tournament for a fourth straight season and the ninth time in 11 years.
"This might not be the strongest team I've played on, but we give it everything," Slatten, in the varsity lineup since eighth grade, said Monday. "We've definitely improved. From the start of the season to the finish, we're so much better."
Slatten, a B student and a point guard on the Virginia girls basketball team, has looked at St. Catherine University in St. Paul and St. Mary's College in Winona, Minn., for the 2012-13 school year, but isn't sure if she'll continue in tennis. At Virginia over the past four years she's moved up in the singles lineup from fourth to first position.
She won the 2010 Section 7A singles title and advanced to the Class A quarterfinals. She teamed with Kingston to win the 2011 Section 7A doubles title.
Kingston is in the Class A doubles tournament for a third straight year with a third different partner. Last year, she and Lexi Gunderson were the state consolation champions.
Virginia finished as 2010 Class A consolation team champion.
"Because we graduated so many good players from last season, I wasn't sure what kind of team we'd have," said Virginia coach Dave Gunderson. "Over the second half of the season they should be proud of what they've accomplished. They've learned to compete and battle.
"Hailey and Katie are just great athletes. Good singles players don't always make good doubles partners, but they have a great partnership."
Also in the Class A doubles tournament are Virginia senior Samantha Silcox and sophomore Taylor Gunderson, while Virginia ninth-grader Brylee Seitz is in the Class A singles tournament.