Tonawanda News — Gretchen Ringler and Jessica Robins were just happy to be at states.
After everything the North Tonawanda doubles tandem accomplished this season — both going 14-0 in singles play and a Niagara Frontier League doubles crown — Lady Jacks coach John LeMar said his two standouts were just excited to be amongst the best talent in the state at the NYS High School Championships in Latham from Nov. 1-4.
But after a first-round loss on Nov. 2 to a team that won the backdrop at states last year, Ringler and Robins won their first consolation match on Nov. 3, making them the only Section VI doubles team to earn a win at states. NT beat Donna Episcopio and Paula Faltynowicz of Section III’s St. Francis, 8-4 before falling, 8-6 in a tough quarterfinal match against Section IX Warwick’s Caroline Seeberg and Juliana Marcolini.
LeMar said that for Ringler and Robins, the first NT doubles team ever to earn a trip to states, winning a match at states is just icing on the cake of an outstanding season.
“If you thought the level of competition at sectionals was really high, the level at states was exceptionally high,” he said. “To win a match at states — it’s really difficult to do. … To win a match adds to their list of once-in-a-lifetime accomplishments.”
Heading into states LeMar said the girls didn’t know what to expect in terms of competition. After an intense regular season with the focus set on team goals, Robins and Ringler had to shift their mindset and get on the same page in doubles actions.
Both girls admitted before the NFL tournament that there is a distinct difference between playing singles and doubles, and they were working hard to get on the same page. But because they have been teammates and friends for so long, and judging by the outstanding results this postseason, the two were able to figure things out together.