Athlete(s) of the Week: Republic Girls Tennis

The Republic girls tennis season has been a bit bumpy.

“It’s been a crazy journey,” said senior Sedalia Shumaker.

“It’s been kind of a whirlwind,” said Head Coach Dan Vales.

Some COVID troubles forced the Lady Tigers to make adjustments throughout the year.

“We had our number one player out for quarantine, our number two player out for quarantine,” Sedalia said. “I sprained my ankle and was out for a couple matches.”

Despite those obstacles, and a schedule of tough competition, these Lady Tigers are pulling a school first.

“We’ve never gone to the final four as team, boys or girls, so to make it there is such a thrill,” Vales said.

The Lady Tigers have become the first Republic team to ever reach the final four after earning a win in the state quarterfinals.

That was the same round in which they were eliminated one year ago.

“We lost last year, so it’s just crazy to see how much we’ve grown in the past year,” said junior Elsie Crawford.

For Elsie, it’s back-to-back weeks of making school history, after placing sixth at individual state. It was the first time anyone from Republic has taken home a state medal.

“When she started as a freshman, she was ranked number 11 on our team,” Vales said. “So two years later, she’s worked her way up to sixth in the state, so we’re just really proud of the progress she’s made.”

“It’s just crazy, I did not expect how things went in state and I was just blown away,” Elsie said.

For two seniors, and one junior set to graduate early, this final four is their final competition as Lady Tigers.

Of course, there would be no better way to end than taking home the state title.

“It’d be incredible,” Sedalia said. “I don’t even have words to explain how amazing it would be.”

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