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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

Through classes, art teachers aim to grow art appreciation

Girls tennis team wins 3rd state championship in 4 seasons

On+Oct.+14%2C+the+girls+tennis+team+made+every+point+count%2C+winning+the+IHSA+1A+State+Championship+by+one+point+%E2%80%94+the+team%E2%80%99s+third+championship+in+four+official+seasons.
Daniel Baeza
On Oct. 14, the girls tennis team made every point count, winning the IHSA 1A State Championship by one point — the team’s third championship in four official seasons.

Update, Oct. 27: This story was updated to correct that Isabelle Ji is a ninth grader, not a senior.

Every point counts. The words echo through the head of junior Paola Almeda as she takes hold of her tennis racquet, eyes narrow and focused. Sunlight pours onto the court, players and onlookers all watching with bated breath. Every. Point. Counts.

On Oct. 14, the girls tennis team made every point count, winning the IHSA 1A State Championship by one point — the team’s third championship in four official seasons. The six who competed at state included seniors Olivia Gin and Tara Sawhney; juniors Paola Almeda and Shelby Hackett; and ninth graders Sophia Holt and Isabelle Ji.

Paola placed second, Sophia Holt placed sixth, and the doubles team of Tara and Isabelle Ji placed fourth. All four girls earned all-state honors.

Olivia, a captain, said that successes off each individual match helped lead the team to victory throughout the long and complicated championship process.

“Knowing how each match we won counted as points that would be added to our overall score forced us to be mindful of how we played,” Olivia said. “If we were losing, we would have to play more defensively to keep the game in play and make our opponents make more mistakes than us.”

Asa Townsend, an assistant coach, explained that paying attention to each individual point was an integral part of winning the championship. 

“Our team dynamic this season was to err on the side of aggression — that was our mindset the entire season,” Mr. Townsend said. “We also emphasized that every point mattered.”

Paola, who placed second in singles, thinks that much of the time, the best teamwork comes from working independently towards a collective goal — and that it’s important to have a personal set of incentives in your head even while working with a team. 

“One of my own main motivations that brought me to the finals at state was the fact that I felt like I needed to prove something,” Paola said. “I have a lot of friends that play tennis competitively at other schools and although I’ve done well at state in doubles, I wanted to prove to them and to myself that I could get far in singles as well.”

Additionally, Paola believes that the team’s shared motivation and confidence served as a propeller toward triumph in the championship. 

“We had already made it that far, and from all of the practice and past matches during the season, I think we knew that we were very capable of taking first place,” Paola said. “I think also that the way we all qualified for state and were all going through it together was very encouraging and motivating to us.”

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About the Contributors
Light Dohrn, Assistant Editor
Light Dohrn is a member of the Class of 2026 and a Midway assistant editor. As a ninth grader, she joined the journalism team during the 2022-23 school year. Her favorite piece she has written for the Midway is “Through authenticity and humor, biology teacher inspires passion among students.” Outside of journalism, she enjoys Middle-Earth fantasy books and Tarantino films. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Excellent, review writing 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Honorable mention, press law and ethics
Daniel Baeza, Photographer
Daniel Baeza is a beginning photojournalist and a member of the Class of 2025. His favorite part of photojournalism is learning different photography methods. Danny thinks the most fulfilling part of photojournalism is capturing someone's emotions in one frame. Outside of photojournalism, Danny enjoys playing baseball, drawing and hanging out with friends. Awards: 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Superior, general/spot news

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