Girls varsity tennis places sixth at the OK White Conference Tournament with a boost from the doubles teams


In the culmination of an extremely competitive season, the girls varsity tennis team took the courts early on Thursday morning in an effort to exit the OK White Conference Tournament having established a name for itself. As they have done all year, the girls battled to a large extent and stayed in the fight. With significant boosts from the doubles teams, FHC’s performance at the tournament was not what the team had hoped for, placing sixth overall. However, the contributions from the players displayed the grittiness and effort that has defined the 2021 season. 

The 2020 OK Conference realignment has created an entirely different slate of matches for FHC this season. With new opponents such as Grand Rapids Christian, East Grand Rapids, and Byron Center having displaced the previous low-tier teams in Division Two, the Rangers’ path to success in the postseason has become increasingly difficult with the entrance of such tennis powerhouses. 

FHC picked up its first wins of the day with some impressive singles performances. Freshman Lily Ohlman pulled out a victory against her opponent from Grand Rapids Christian, clinching the match with a nail-biting 7-5 triumph. Likewise, fellow freshman Saniya Mishra breezed through her Greenville counterpart by a score of 8-1. 

Senior Emily Johnson continued to ramp up her accomplishments this season, dominating her Greenville match with two 6-0 bagels before falling to GRC and Byron Center. Wrapping it up at fourth singles, sophomore Veronica Vincent came excruciatingly close to defeating her opponent from GRC, but ultimately dropped the match as well as her face-off against Dana Goedken from East Grand Rapids. The three victories from FHC’s singles players were a solid start, but the doubles teams were suddenly faced with the pressure to add to the win total.

In a general sense, the Lady Ranger doubles teams did just that and stepped up in a significant way. Senior Delaney Michalski and sophomore Brooke Kushak bounced back from a defeat at the hands of GRC and made quick work of their opponents from Greenville. This was followed up by two huge wins from another senior-sophomore tandem of Olivia Hooper and Megan Fox against Greenville and Lowell. With still two doubles matches to play, FHC had already tied its singles score with a chance to expand upon it. 

Needing clutch performances, the Rangers turned to their shining stars of this season. Freshman Lucy Wu and sophomore Ella Hunnewell have provided massive lifts to this squad time and time again; the conference tournament was no exception. The pair of underclassmen teamed up to defeat Byron Center in two extremely competitive matches by scores of 7-5 and 6-4, followed by a wicked comeback against East Grand Rapids. Lucy and Ella dropped the first match 4-6; nonetheless, subsequent 6-3 and 6-4 triumphs secured a remarkable win for the up-and-coming duo. To finish off the night, junior Leila Gonzalez and senior Lily Campbell got the best of Lowell, escaping with an 8-3 victory.

The six total wins from FHC’s doubles team brought the overall win total to nine for the day. Compared to an astounding 21 points by Forest Hills Northern and 14 from GRC and EGR, the Lady Rangers’ placement at conferences offered some insight into how stacked the competition has been so far this season.

This upcoming week, FHC hosts Hudsonville at 4:15 PM on Tuesday, May 18 in the team’s last dual of the season. Just over two days later, the Lady Rangers make their long-awaited appearance at the MHSAA Regionals. This match will begin at 8:30 AM on Friday, May 21, and will take place at the FHC and FHN tennis courts.