Girls tennis wins state championship


Andrew Burke-Stevenson

The U-High girls tennis team won the state championship over the three-day event from Oct. 21-23. Senior Emma Baker became the first girl at U-High to have won an individual state championship in tennis.

Sahana Unni, Content Manager

The girls tennis team won the 1A IHSA State Championship after scoring a total of 39 points over the three-day tournament on Oct. 21-23. U-High also won the state championship in 2019, and no state championship was held in the shortened 2020 season.   

Of the six players who attended, senior Emma Baker won the singles championship and senior Emilee Pak playing with sophomore Sophie Baker were finalists in the doubles championship. Junior Kriti Sarav finished in the elite eight in singles, as well as ninth graders Paola Almeda and Layla Shah in doubles. 

Emma became the first girl at U-High to have won an individual IHSA State Championship in tennis. This was her second time playing in the championship, the first being in 2019. 

“At the state final it was the 50th anniversary of Title IX, and women’s tennis was one of the first high school sports that females could compete in,” Emma said. “They brought two women to hand us our medals who were really big proponents and advocates for girls in sports.”

The last time a U-High athlete won an individual IHSA state championship was in 1996 in track and field.

“It’s really cool to be part of the legacy,” Emma said. “When the high school season started it was my goal to win the state championship individually, but also as a team.”

The team’s success at the 10 team 1A IHSA Sectional Championship Oct. 14-16 allowed them to advance to state. There, Emma Baker placed first in singles and Kriti Sarav placed fourth. For the doubles championship, Sophie Baker and Emilee Pak placed first, and Paola Almeda and Layla Shah came in third. 

“As a team it was really fun because we all worked hard together and racked up points and I feel like we kind of knew we would win because we had four teams going to state,” Kriti said. “It was sweet winning back to back.”