The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

Hamilton-Wenham Girls Tennis: Back-to-Back State Titles and Looking for Another

Lenny Dolan
Hamilton-Wenham Girls Tennis Team Championship at Endicott College Tennis Courts in Beverly, Massachusetts. In the back, from left to right, Morgan DeJoy, Lena Voss, Sydney Dolan, Maddie Minich, Angelina Meimeteas, Sydney Amero, Abby Simon, Sienna Gregory, Ava Maher, Sofia Montoya, Laynee Wilkins, Olivia Romans, Julia Maher, and Coach Joe Maher. In the front, from left to right, Emily McIntosh, Mariah Boys, Ellie Holbrook, Alle Benchoff, Chloe Gern, Sky Jara, Naomi Provost, and Nina Finn.

Billie Jean King once said, “Champions keep playing until they get it right.”

On Father’s Day, June 18th, 2023, the Hamilton-Wenham Girls Varsity Tennis Team traveled to Endicott College to compete against the Manchester-Essex Hornets in a nail-biting fight for the second state championship in a row. Sky Jara at first singles and Naomi Provost at second singles led the way. After dominant regular seasons, there was little doubt the two singles players would help lead the team to victory. They each ended up winning their matches 6-0, 6-0 putting the Generals on the board over the Hornets, 2-0. With these first two clean wins for the team, only one more victory was needed to become back-to-back state champions.

Meanwhile, the team of Grace Scarbrough and Sienna Crocker, as well as the team of Emery Weber-Provost and Sophie Zalosh, were in the middle of intense matches. Each Generals team had lost one set each, making Father’s Day a little more stressful than it needed to be.

Singles starters of the Hamilton-Wenham Girls Tennis Team holding the state trophy during the State Championship at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. From left to right, Sky Jara, Chloe Gern, and Naomi Provost.

When the second doubles team of Laynee Wilkins and Alle Benchoff came up short after a tight match, the overall score was 2-1, meaning the outcome would be decided by the final two matches. Generals third singles player, Chloe Gern, lost the first two games in the first set, but came back on top, winning her match 6-2,6-0, and leading the Generals yet another state championship. This made school history by winning back-to-back state titles for the first time in 30 years!

Second doubles team players throughout Hamilton-Wenham Girls Tennis Team’s season holding the trophy at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. From left to right, Alle Benchoff, Sofia Montoya, and Laynee Wilkins.

Even though the Generals had already clenched another title, Sienna Gregory and Abby Simon continued to face tough opponents. They fell just short in the first set 5-7. However, they quickly turned things around and took the second set 6-4. Knowing that Chloe had secured the victory, the two teams decided to play to a ten point tie breaker to end the match. It was highly intense and competitive, but Gregory and Simon were able to add to the Generals win, resulting in a 4-1 victory.

First doubles starters Sienna Gregory (left) and Abby Simon (right) holding the state championship trophy at the championship match at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Sky Jara was a key contributor to this second state championship. She has played in the first singles position since her freshman year at Hamilton Wenham. Coming from a family of tennis stars and working hard during the offseason, it is no surprise that Sky has a near perfect record. For this coming season, Sky hopes the team is more like a family, playing with each other, and supporting one another through every match. 

When asked how it feels to hold the title of a two-time state champion, Sky said that it was a great experience to make history and win twice in a row. However, she said that the first win was more special since their opponent was so far away from home whereas this year, it was more of the battle of two Essex County Teams. With the close distance of the two teams and having already played each other multiple times, both teams knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It was less of a new match up, but called for an exciting one. Making a great Fathers Day gift for Coach Joe Maher and an experience the girls will never forget, winning the title of State Champion not just once, but twice, was well deserved. 

With the 2022 and 2023 varsity girls tennis teams securing back-to-back state titles, Coach Maher was named Coach of the Year. When asked about his role in these state titles, Coach Maher credited the team, saying, “It’s nice to be recognized, but at the same time, there are a bunch of good coaches out there who could also have won this award.” 

When heading into the match, Maher said he felt confident knowing that they had beaten the Hornets twice before. However, he knew the doubles teams had been progressively getting better for the Hornets, and with the competition being high, Mr. Maher had some stress in his system. Soon, though, he began to feel more confident knowing Sky and Naomi at first and second singles would add points for the team.

When asked about any advice he would give to other coaches, Mr. Maher said, “I like to make sure everyone feels involved and has fun at practice so that they are eager to learn and play. I don’t want them to feel like going to tennis is a chore, and I want people to have a good time. Winning is just a positive addition to the fun time we have at practices.”

Coach Joe Maher of the Hamilton-Wenham Girls Tennis Team walking to the courts after they won the intense match against the Hornets at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts.

I like to make sure everyone feels involved and has fun at practice so that they are eager to learn and play. I don’t want them to feel like going to tennis is a chore, and I want people to have a good time. Winning is just a positive addition to the fun time we have at practices.”

— Coach Maher

As for this season, Coach Maher hopes that players on varsity that didn’t always start get a chance to step up and make an impact for the team. “It’s going to be exciting to see the other experienced players fill the spaces of the positions to try and earn another state title,” Maher said. Especially now with Sky Jara battling a foot injury, the other players will need to step up. 

When asked to sum up the team’s success, Craig Genualdo, the HWRHS Athletic Director, said, “I just simply love seeing the amount of support that the parents, the coaches, and most importantly the girls give to each other. Whether the girls were playing or not, they’d all be in uniform and helping each other out during warm ups and throughout the matches and that is something that is very important for a program, and something I have loved seeing incorporated into the tennis team.” 

Just like everyone else, Mr. Genualdo was an absolute mess the entire championship match. Mr. Genualdo remembers the nerves were high throughout the entire day. When he realized that the team won, he was nothing but proud of the team, and happily dialed the police to escort the state champions back to the high school. “I still get goosebumps just thinking about it,” Genualdo exclaimed. 

The topic of this year’s outcomes raises questions regarding how successful the team will actually be. Can they be victorious three times in a row and win the title of State Champions again? 

Sky Jara claims they have a decent chance. “We can win a third title . . . , but I feel like it will be a lot more difficult considering we lost a strong senior class last year. Even though we are two time champions, we have to treat it like we’ve never won before. It’ll be interesting to see how we can keep the same momentum going from the last two years and still not get too caught up in the past year’s success.”

Mr. Genauldo hopes that this year will be successful, but also a place where the girls can have fun and bond. “I don’t want to be predictable or put any pressure on the team whatsoever, but I feel like they could potentially win a third title. However, in the end, it’s the journey, not the destination, and they can have total success in various ways next year without bringing home another trophy. Either outcome of the journey would represent a lot.” 

 The only real hope Mr. Genualdo has for this tennis program is that the players feel involved and improve as the season progresses. He hopes the girls continue to play as a team, continue to play as fiercely and dedicated as they have been, as well as remember that, above all else, they are playing because they love the game.

Maher realizes that it will be difficult to win a third state title, but he is hopeful for another successful season. Whether they win another title or not, it doesn’t fully matter as long as the team progresses, sticks together, learns lessons, and continues their success. With competitiveness and grit, there is no doubt that the girls tennis team will accomplish great milestones yet again whether that be making it far in the state tournament, having a successful season, or bringing home another state title all in the name of our school. 

This year’s team is already off to a 5-0 start. Let’s go, Generals!

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About the Contributors
Emily McIntosh
Emily McIntosh, Staff Writer
Emily McIntosh is a sophomore at Hamilton Wenham and is a writer for the General Consensus. Emily joined us since she has interest in writing about things others may want to read about. In her free time, Emily loves to play soccer and tennis, participate in extracurricular activities, and hang out with friends.
Clare O’Toole is a freshman at HWRHS and joined the General Consensus recently. Clare wanted to try journalism because she always wanted to write for a school newspaper. Journalism gave her the perfect opportunity to express her writing. Clare likes to play soccer and hang out with friends outside of school.

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