By Karen Ronney
When it comes to strong finishes, members of the Patrick Henry High girls’ tennis made their mark. The San Diego Hall of Champions recently bestowed prestigious post-season honors to three players who were named to the First-Team All-Eastern League squad. Lady Patriot Julia Ronney, the Eastern League singles champion, was named Player of the Year. Senior Stasia Khinich and sophomore Nikki Wakeland earned First-Team All-League Doubles honors. All three received Breitbard Certificates of Athletic Achievement for their athletic efforts.
“These young ladies worked very hard year-round to maintain and improve their games and it showed,” said Patriot Coach Cheryl Gilbert. “Their dedication was to be admired and they set the bar for their teammates.”
Ronney, a junior, clinched the singles title and top honors without dropping a set. For that accomplishment, she was named Player of the Year by a coaches’ vote. Ronney is also a three-time All-League recipient and the 2014 doubles champion with partner Hailey Broderick. Khinich and Wakeland were outstanding singles players for Patrick Henry and transitioned to doubles for post-season play. The duo finished second overall in league.
“It seemed like a natural fit to bring Nikki and Stasia together in doubles,” said Patriot Assistant Coach Karen Brown. “They were very good friends off the court and their doubles skills were a perfect match.”
The three Lady Patriots were joined by the “sister” teams of twin seniors Ali and Paulina Nguyen and siblings senior Alex and junior Jade Loucks, who respectively finished fifth and sixth in the Eastern League. “We understood each other without saying a word,” said Ali Nguyen. “All I had to do was look at Paulina and she knew what I was thinking.”
This group of seven outstanding players was an integral part of the driving force that helped Patrick Henry place second in the CIF Division II Team Championships.
“It was a great experience being on the same team with my sister and being her doubles partner,” said Jade Loucks. “It brought us closer together. I’m also glad we were able to be a part of a great team.”