Leah Maddock, a 8th grader in Osakis, had the first of what could be many state tournament experiences in her career when she entered the Class A singles tournament on Thursday.
Maddock faced first round No.3 seed Ryann Witter of Rochester Lourdes, where she lost 6-0, 6-0 in the final. This sent her into a match against fellow veteran junior Chloe Brandt of LeSueur-Henderson on the afternoon where Brandt extended her season with a 6-0, 6-0 victory.
“It was a great experience playing in the state tournament as an 8th grader,” said Osakis head coach Ryan Maddock. “Leah hadn’t been able to train much this week due to illness, so she was just happy she was well enough to participate. While she played pretty well in her first game, it’s tough to get on the board against one of the best players in the state. In her second game, it was obvious that she didn’t feel like herself and that she was unable to really take on another top player.
Maddock reached the state tournament coming out of the Section 6A singles tournament as the No. 3 seed on the field.
“Leah played a strong sectional tournament finishing second and qualifying for the state,” said coach Maddock. “She’s a very strong hitter and can hit balls in front of people. When she’s hot, she’s a dangerous player. She has a very bright future as she continues to become a more consistent hitter. His ability to hit so hard will allow him to be competitive at a high level.
Maddock was part of a talented high-end singles roster for Osakis this fall as she took second in the roster behind senior Mara VanNyhuis. Coming out of the section tournament came with a bit of a bittersweet feeling, as it took VanNyhuis in a real second game to come out.
“It was very difficult for everyone involved to have a real second game with two of our players,” said coach Maddock. “It’s tough for the losing player and it’s actually tough for the winning player because it’s hard to feel happy about your accomplishment when that win ends a teammate’s season. While Leah won and was able to play in the state, Mara graduated from here with some very impressive accolades.
VanNyhuis ended his tennis career with a total of 117 wins and was a big part of the 2020 squad that went undefeated and won the tag team section championship before the state tournaments were canceled due to of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She was a valued member of the state qualifying teams as an 8th and 9th grader,” said coach Maddock. “She qualified in state doubles in her second year and last year went undefeated in the second singles on a section-winning team.”