Blake junior Libby Rickeman already has two tennis team state titles and a doubles state title. Add Class 1A singles champion to the list.
“All season I’ve been hoping to get this far,” Rickeman said. “It just feels like a huge relief.”
This time the opponent was a friend and teammate. She defeated eighth-grader Arlina Shen 6-1, 6-0 in the Class 1A final Friday at Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in Minneapolis. It was a rematch of the Section 4A final, which had the same winner and score.
“It’s great to play a teammate because it means that we both got there,” Rickeman said. “I think it is a little easy because you don’t have to worry as much.”
The championship match started with a couple breaks of serve and long rallies, including a 20-shot rally to start the second game. The third game went to deuce four times.
“That score didn’t really tell the whole story,” Rickeman said. “I feel like we both won. We both got first and second.”
Both players can play extended rallies, but Rickeman gained momentum with her transitions to the net, Blake coach Marc Stingley said.
“She was just hitting a lot of angles,” Shen said. “She had a good rhythm.”
Rickeman dropped just three games in the singles tournament.
She also won each second set 6-0. She did the same thing last year, when she won the Class 2A doubles title. It speaks volumes about her game, according to Stingley, who added that the final was the best match she played in the tournament.
Shen still has plenty of high school tennis ahead of her, Rickeman said, and she doesn’t expect anything less than the many state titles awaiting her younger teammate. But Rickeman has another year to play, too.
“They could very well meet again next year,” Stingley said.
The sister duos from Breck met in the Class 1A doubles final, with the juniors defeating the seniors. Lauren Kozikowski and Grace Zumwinkle won 6-1, 6-4 over their older sisters Kendall Kozikowski and Anna Zumwinkle.
“That’s probably the best match they’ve played all season,” Breck coach Anne Gorde said.