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May 20, 2017
By: Daniel Stickradt

GIRLS TENNIS: Okemos truly a model of consistency


GIRLS TENNIS: Okemos truly a model of consistency

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BY DAN STICKRADT

CORRESPONDENT

dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

Twitter: @LocalSportsFans

 

OKEMOS — If there is a term that truly defines Okemos in the sport of girls tennis, it’s truly a model of consistency.

 

Dating back to the early stages of the MHSAA Lower Peninsula state tournament in the early 1970s, the Chieftains have not missed the state finals in over four decades.

 

That’s right — over 40 years.

 

Okemos added to its lore recently by wrapping up another Division 2 regional crown, the school’ sixth straight, with 23 points.

 

The Chieftains also captured another CAAC Blue Division crown earlier in May, collecting 45 points at the league tournament to go along with a 6-0-0 league dual match record.

 

“I know they have done really well over the years,” admitted Catherine Parenteau, Okemos’ first-year head coach. “This year’s team has carried on the tradition.”

 

Previously, Parenteau competed for four seasons at Michigan State University and spent the past two seasons as a grad assistant with MSU’s women’s tennis program.

 

Okemos has reached the Division 2 state tournament 20 straight times. Before that, the Chieftains qualified in either Class A or Class B from 1977-1996. (The MHSAA records are unclear if Okemos qualified for state from 1972-76).

 

Okemos owns eight state titles, including 1983, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001. The Chieftains have also claimed 10 state runner-up trophies dating back to 1977.

 

The lowest Okemos has finished the state finals between 1977 and 2016 was 13th in 2011 (Division 2). A total of 38 other times the Chieftains have finished in the top 10 at state — and the program could claim another top 10 finish June 3-4 in Holland.

 

To go along with the aforementioned eight state titles and 10 state runner-up finishes, the Chieftains own a trio of third-place showings, placed fourth twice and fifth a total of five times. Okemos has also finished sixth (five times), seventh (three times, eighth (once), 10th (once) and 13th (once).

 

From 1993 to 2004, Okemos finished in the top three at the state finals 12 straight times.

 

Although unranked as of mid-May, Okemos hopes to prove the coaches association wrong with another top five finish — a spot the Chieftains have finished 28 times over the years.

 

“That’s our goal,” said Parenteau, who's team finished 7-4-1 in dual matches. “We have played really well all season. Our singles lineup is really good.”

 

Entering the regional, Okemos’ singles lineup only had a combined 10 losses. Senior Monica Francis (No. 1), junior Gorgie Pavalec (No. 2), sophomore Semi Colak (No. 3) and junior Anushka Murthy (No. 4) have led the charge, with Colak and Murthy claiming both league and regional titles.

 

Senior Natasha Chinoy and freshman Yana Semerly also won league and regional titles at No. 1 doubles, while juniors Ayesho Panda and Nishi Patel captured a regional crown at No. 2 doubles.

 

The No. 3 doubles unit of Martina Yen and Shruti Swaminathan finished as regional runners-up, while the No. 4 tandem s Meg Daster and Gurneelam Nijjer emerged as regional champions.

 

“This is a great group of girls — a fun group to coach,” said Parenteau. “Hopefully, we can have a great finish to end of our season.”

 

If history repeats, then Okemos will do just that with another top 10 state finials finish.

 

OKEMOS AT GIRLS TENNIS STATE FINALS OVER THE YEARS

 

 

YEAR FINISH DIVISION

 

Spring Seasons

2017: TBD D-2

2016: 5th D-2

2015: 4th D-2

2014: 5th D-2

2013: 5th D-2

2012: 6th D-2

2011: 13th D-2

2010: 7th D-2

2009: 8th D-2

2008: T-6th D-2

 

Fall Seasons

2006: 4th D-2

2005: 6th D-2

2004: 2nd D-2

2003: 2nd D-2

2002: 2nd D-2

2001: 1st D-2

2000: 1st D-2

1999: 1st D-2

1998: 1st D-2

1997: 2nd D-2

1996: 3rd Class A

1995: 1st Class A

1994: 1st Class A

1993: 1st Class A

1992: 6th Class A

1991: 5th Class A

1990: 7th Class A

1989: 2nd Class A

1988: T-2nd Class A

1987: 6th Class A

1986: 2nd Class B

1985: T-10th Class A

1984: 2nd Class B

1983: 1st Class B

1982: 2nd Class B

1981: 3rd Class B

1980: 3rd Class B

1979: 5th Class B-C-D

1978: T-7th Class B-C-D

1977: 2nd Class B-C-D

1976: Not available

1975: Not available

1974: Not available

1973: Not available

1972: Not available

 

— List compiled by Dan Stickradt. Email Dan Stickradt at dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com for updates and corrections.