I've been to many thrilling championship sports games, but this year I realized I had never been to a championship game in any women's sport.
So when my friend Jo Cabana, coach of Charlotte Catholic High School's girls tennis team, invited me to watch her team play in the 3A state championship in Burlington, I was excited.
Each school competes with about the same number of students. The state is divided into the East and West regions, and the winner of each region goes to the finals. Before the season starts, girls play each other for their rankings on the team. The coach decides which individual girl is seeded first and which duo will play first in doubles.
At matches, the top six girls from each school start by playing singles tennis against same-ranked opponents. Then doubles teams play. Whichever school wins five matches first is the winner. Each game consists of two sets, and if no one wins both sets, the players play a tiebreaker until one player has 10 points and wins.
At the semifinals match the night before the state finals, Charlotte Catholic played Weddington. Six singles tennis matches were all going on at the same time at six different courts. The coach, parents, fans and friends had to keep track of what was going on: how well each player was doing, the score, how far along the game or set was, and they also had to decide whether to cheer, to make sure not they didn't break players' concentration.
I pressed my nose against the freezing chain link fence, trying to get the best view possible of the game, then I'd move to the next game, then the next. I kept moving to keep up with what was going on (and to keep warm). The competition was even tenser because two of the matches went into tiebreakers.
More than two hours after they started, two matches looked as though they might be decided by a single point, and all their teammates, parents, fans, friends and coach hung on every bounce. Catholic ended up winning both tiebreakers.
The next morning, the team traveled almost three hours to the state-of-the-art Burlington Tennis Center. While Charlotte Catholic played for the 3A state final, Myers Park was finishing up playing for the 4A final. Salisbury had won the 2A championship earlier that morning.
Watching tennis at this facility was a dream, as there were bleachers facing each set of three courts. Although these matches were comfortable to watch, they weren't as tense or as close, and Catholic won five of its six singles matches, earning the state title.
Congratulations to Megan Arizmendi, Ellie Bolton, Blair Cunnane, Grace Deering, Paige Ernest, Bailey Hughes, Christine Kessel, Caroline Smith, Bailey Thomas, Rachel Tomchin, Ashley Verhein, Maddie Wise, Jo Cabana and Jennie, the team's beagle mascot. Not only are you all N.C. 3A champs, you've made me a lifetime fan of women's sports.
Aquesta Bank announcements
Two employees are moving to other positions with the bank.
Susan Miller, customer service representative at the main office in Cornelius, will be branch manager in Mooresville. She lives in Cornelius.
Bobbi Hoppe, branch manager in Mooresville, will be Aquesta's mortgage specialist and assistant branch manager in Cornelius. Bobbi lives in Huntersville.
The town of Cornelius is looking for an animal control officer and also an information technology technician. Go to www.cornelius.org/employment for more information.
The town hall will be closed Nov. 25-26 for the Thanksgiving holiday.