2019 Kentucky High School Tennis Girls’ Championship Recap and Impressions

Girls’ Doubles – Ryle Reigns due to Communication

The doubles final between Ryle and North Oldham High Schools was a contrast.  Ryle’s doubles team of Elizabeth Hamilton and Halimae Laurino was comprised of 12th-grade players who had lost in the 2018 doubles semifinal.  North Oldham’s team was comprised of two middle school players who upset the #3 seeds in the quarterfinal round and the #1 seeds in the semifinal round.  Hamilton and Laurino played like a seasoned doubles team hitting spots with their serves and ground strokes and then finishing points at the net with a number of touch or angled volleys designed to harm doubles teams insistent on blasting ground strokes.

In each set, the Ryle duo raced to an early lead while North Oldham gamely rallied to put each set back on serve.  The final third of each set saw Ryle bear down and reclaim a decisive break of serve.  Ryle took the title 6-3, 6-4 and each team shed either tears of joy or as the match ended.

I spoke to the Ryle duo after their triumph.  They credited their communication skills for the state title.  Hamilton is from Croatia, but Laurino has learned and used Croatian terms to urge her partner on throughout the match.  I got a kick out of hearing Laurino yell, “Idemo!” to Hamilton after they knocked off winning volleys.  This along with talking between points and the typical use of hand signals demonstrated their communication skills.  They joked about not repeating food choices from the 2018 final weekend as well.  Finally, Ryle is in the greater Cincinnati area so they noted not playing many Kentucky high school opponents in USTA or UTR events.  They felt this was an advantage at state because they could play opponents without any predisposed notions.

The future is bright for two middle school players from North Oldham, but the present belonged to two 12th grade players from Ryle who had no failure to communicate.

Girls’ Singles – Beckman Repeats

Carrie Beckman of Sacred Heart Academy is a 5 Star college recruit who has now won the Kentucky Girls’ Singles State title as both a 9th and 10th grade competitor.  Beckman’s father, Charles, was an NCAA All American at Texas and played on the pro tour reaching the top 50 in the world in doubles.  Carrie Beckman shares that type of potential.  She is one of the most impressive junior players I have ever seen.  Beckman took the singles final 6-1, 6-0 against a solid opponent in Olivia Gallagher.  Olivia Gallagher was capable of taking points and sometimes extending games to deuce vs. Beckman, but she was simply overwhelmed by the technical and athletic abilities of Carrie Beckman.  Four consecutive singles state titles for Carrie Beckman is a real possibility before she takes her talents to high level division 1 tennis and perhaps beyond.


Population Centers Dominated

Carrie Beckman helped Sacred Heart High School of Louisville to take the team title as well.  Ryle High School is located in one of the fastest growing areas of the Greater Cincinnati Area.  North Oldham is part of Greater Louisville.  Olivia Gallagher played for Scott County which is part of the Greater Lexington Area.  The three largest population centers in Kentucky produced all of the singles and doubles finalists as well as the top two teams in the girls’ team standings.  This theme would be repeated in the boys’ singles, doubles, and team standings.


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