Libby's Mee wins Class A state tennis title
Libby’s Jackie Mee wrapped up a perfect season with her first singles championship at the Class A state tennis tournament on Friday.
Mee, 20-0, dropped her first set of the season, but bounced back to crush Brittney Hatzell of Billings Central, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.
After the customary handshake with her opponent, Mee quickly gathered her gear, walked off court, then rushed to hug her mom, assistant coach Barb Mee.
“I never had the tears of joy feeling before, but I had it then,” Jackie Mee said.
Mee, for the first time this season, was forced to go three sets.
“My mom said ‘two sets to go … relax, take it one at a time,’” Jackie said after losing the first one.
It was good advice.
“Then I started getting balls back, as many as I could,” she said. “Then I started working.”
The championship was the first for Mee in any sport. The all-state golfer, volleyball and basketball standout, also becomes Libby’s first state singles champion.
“I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s good,” she said of how it feels to be the best. “I’ve never had this feeling before.”
Mee advanced to state last year, but fell in the semifinals.
“I hit good shots last year, but not as consistently,” she said. “I worked hard on it (my footwook and quickness) in the offseason. When you have better footwork, the court seems a lot smaller.”
Mee advanced to the finals with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Megin Madruga of Corvallis.
Mee rolled in the opening round on Thursday with a 6-0, 6-0 rout of Anaconda’s Emily Morani. In the second round, Mee defeated Custer County’s Shelby Toennis, 6-0, 6-2.
In other results involving Libby, the doubles team of Nichole Newman and Anna Valentine reached the consolation quarterfinals before bowing out with a 7-6, 6-3 loss to Kate Monger and Samantha Kindred of Fergus.
Newman and Valentine outlasted Dawson County’s Steph Huschka and Hannah Huschka in the first round, 7-6, 6-4. Haley Donovan and Courtney Kinholt then beat Newman and Valentine in the second round to send the Libby duo into the consolation bracket. There, they rebounded with a 7-6, 6-1 win over Christina Boberg and Becky Weidow of Stevensville, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.
Havre took the team championship by just two points over Bllings Central. Libby placed third.
(David Lesnick is a reporter for the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell).
Class A State Tennis
Thursday-Friday at Kalispell
1, Havre 29; 2, Billings Central 27; 3, Libby 19; 4, Dillon 15; 5, Corvallis 10; 6, Hamilton 9; 7, Polson 7; 7, Fergus 7; 9, Park 5; 9, Custer 5; 11, Dawson 3; 12, Whitefish 2; 13, Stevensville 1; 14, Anaconda 0; 14, Bigfork 0.
Mee, Libby, def. Morani, Anaconda, 6-0, 6-0.
Mee, Libby, def. Toennis, Custer County, 6-0, 6-2.
Mee, Libby, def. Madruga, Corvallis, 6-1, 6-2.
Mee, Libby, def. Hatzell, Billings Central, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.
Newman/Valentine, Libby, def. S. Huschka/H. Huschka, Dawson County, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4
Donavan/Kinholt def. Newman/Valentine, 6-2, 6-4.
Newman/Valentine def. Boberg/Weidow, 7-6, 6-1.
Monger/Kindred, Fergus, def. Newman/Valentine, Libby, 7-6, 6-3.