By Joshua B. Dermer
After winning the tennis district doubles championship, the Lady Hi-Tides top two starters, sophomore Gabriela Palacios and junior Claudia Llanes, were defeated in the state tournament in Orlando on April 20, losing 6- 3, 7-2 to Sarasota High.
“For the most part, I gave it my all,” claimed Llanes, but both players thought they could have done better. Next year they expect to return to state competition with better results.
According to Palacios, “Claudia is a good player at heart, but she lets the pressure get to her and the people get inside her head, which is her only flaw.”
“It was a good experience for her to see what kind of pressure she is going to be under, and to learn that she is going to have to control that pressure,” said Coach Toni Harmony. “They saw the cream of the crop, how far they were from it, and what they have to do to become a part of that cream.”
Harmony has high hopes for the duo and plans to work them hard next year. “We are going to give them a summer conditioning schedule and have t e girls participate in other preseason sports,” she said.
Palacios, who also competed in the singles contest, lost to Douglas High 6-4, 6-2. “She gave it her all,” said Harmony. “She really worked very hard.”
“Last year I had harder competition in districts,” Palacios said. She joked that the hardest part of states was not playing the matches, but rather, “Claudia’s nightly snoring.”