The season-long march for Oak Park and River Forest and Fenwick's tennis teams has come to an end.
Both teams drew their season to a close last weekend after competing in the IHSA State Finals. After capturing a first place finish in the sectional tournament, the Huskies added another feather in their cap, finishing in a three-way tie for 17th out of 100 teams at State.
"I was really pleased with the result," said OPRF coach Fred Galluzzo. "We really did well considering the level of competition we faced. We didn't have the best draw, but we still won all of our first round matches. Our finish was a big improvement from last year."
OPRF singles players Camille Gebert and Margaret Kempster and doubles players Bryce Buchowicz, Elizabeth Hanley, Delna Weil and Catherine Hunter all competed in the tourney.
Gebert, who claimed her third sectional championship this season, cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 straight-set victory in the first round, but fell in 0-6, 0-6 in her second round match against Hailee Elmore from Springfield High School.
"Camille did a nice job considering the draw she had," Galluzzo said. "She had an easy match in the first round and then she ran into Elmore, who went on to finish third or fourth in the State."
Similar to Gebert, Kempster also experienced a difficult draw. Kempster won easily (6-2, 6-2) in her first round, but then played first seed Denise Muresan from Stevenson High School losing 1-6, 0-6. Muresan went on to claim the State championship. The doubles team of Delna Weil and Catherine Hunter also claimed victory in the first round, but fell in their third round consolation match (2-6, 3-6). The doubles team of Bryce Buchowicz and Elizabeth Hanley won their first round match, but fell in their second round match. It was a different story in the consolation bracket, with the duo rattling off two straight set victories, before falling to a talented Hinsdale team (4-6, 1-6).
Galluzzo is looking forward to next year, but he knows the gap left by his seniors will be hard to fill.
"This really was a good tournament for us and good to way to end the year," he said. "I think it was a good sendoff for our seniors. We have ten seniors on the team, with four of them played in the top six. It is going to be tough to replace them, but hopefully the kids coming back like Margaret Kempster, Claire Griffin and Liz Hanley will step up and keep things rolling.
Meanwhile, Fenwick, which finished 8-1 in the East Suburban Catholic Conference (ESCC), finished the year with a second-place finish at sectionals and tied for 46th at State. Singles player Colleen Kelly and the doubles team of junior Rachel Dillon and senior Kathryn Wilkie qualified for State.
Kelly lost her first-round match, but recovered with a 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 win in the second round. Kelly then lost in the next round to bring her career at Fenwick to a close.
"She had a really tough draw," said Fenwick coach Gerard Sullivan. "There were clusters throughout the draw which had a lot of quality talent. Unfortunately, she drew one of those clusters."