New Look Scots…Same Results. Highland Park Tennis Team Captures Record 21st State Championship
The Scots Varsity tennis team looked a lot different this year as they took the courts. While the uniforms were the same and the 20 yellow tennis ball championship banners hung as usual at Seay Tennis Center, gone were 15 players from their championship runs of 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Unsure how the new players would perform on the court and gel off the court, the captains started early working hard to get the new players acclimated.
"We not only had over half our team as new players, but we were dealing with COVID-19 restrictions and fear all season we would get shut down. As we entered the playoffs, I knew this team had heart and would be up for the challenge to help us win it all" said Junior Captain Ray Saalfield.
After an undefeated District title, along with non-district wins against 6A schools like Allen High School, the Scots had their eyes on the playoffs and the test it would bring.
Victories against Cleburne, Hallsville, set the stage for a loaded Regional. The scots netted wins against #10 Ennis, #2 Frisco Heritage and #4 Frisco Centennial for the Regional II title, and a record 33rd consecutive appearance in the UIL State Championship Tournament. The Scots travelled to neutral site, Witchita Falls, to face Region I winner and West Texas power #3 ranked Amarillo High School, in the state semi-finals. After the first six doubles matches the score was knotted at 3-3. One final doubles match was still in action. Ray Saalfield and Carl Newell were down a set and 3-5 in the second set. The point was won by the Scots in the third set tiebreak, an electrifying 2-hour match! The victory shifted the momentum in Highland Park’s favor and they never looked back in the Singles play.
Injured Senior Eli Susser shouted and jumped around watching the Scot victories start coming in. "Even though I couldn't help the team on the court, I felt I could still contribute by bringing the energy and fan support." The Scots won the match and punched their ticket to the Finals in a rematch against Alamo Heights.
The team travelled to College Station for the 5A Championship Match. Starting play at nearly 6PM, the Scots patiently waited all day for their turn as the 6A and 4A championship matches were completed. Doubles wins by Ray Saalfield/Carl Newell, Cambelle Henderson/Isabella McElfresh, Skyler Carter/Lucy Tilden and Mia Rogozinski/Bella Rosas helped the Scots get the early lead. All eyes were then on the girls doubles match of Hayden Bethea/Eden Rogozinski as they were fighting hard in a 3rd set. The winning point came with Hayden Bethea making excellent volleys to force the error by Alamo Heights! This match gave the Scots a healthy 5-2 lead heading into Singles.
Senior Captain and 4-Year Letterman, Cambelle Henderson saved her best tennis for last as she took on the Alamo Heights star player, ranked as a Top 10 girl in Texas. With the team and parents cheering her on, Cambelle won the match in a 3rd set to put the Scots one win closer to the State Championship. Under a crescent moon with masked fans the Scots hit 10 wins to the Mules 3! This team showed they are Champions once again. This 2020 Team Tennis Championship makes 21 total for the Scots, a Texas record!