South Park's Tracy Gibson and Elise Carter ended their final season of high school tennis as the PIAA Class AA doubles tournament fourth-place finisher.
The WPIAL doubles champions, Carter and Gibson won their first two matches at Hershey last weekend with ease before losing to the District 1 champion team of Jen Shulkin and Marni Blumenthal, 6-2, 6-3, in the semifinals Saturday. That duo from Harriton High School, located in Lower Merion Township, a Philadelphia suburb, would go on to win the title.
"We played really well," Gibson said. "It was our senior year, so we wanted to pour our best into it, and we did."
A loss to Southern Lehigh's Robyn Ferraro and Morgan Oechsle in the consolation match later Saturday afternoon was the final one in the long high school careers of both Carter and Gibson.
Gibson was South Park's first singles player during each of the past four seasons. Carter was a starter at doubles as a freshman and at second singles during the past three years.
Together, they have long been the heart and soul of an Eagles team that was a WPIAL playoff team four consecutive seasons, winning the past two Section 5-AA titles, placing third in the WPIAL with a PIAA quarterfinalist berth this season.
"Yeah, I'm really upset about the fact it's all over now," Gibson said. "It was so much fun. I wish I was going back next year."
"It's sad," said Carter, whose sister, Chelsea, was South Park's top underclassman at third singles. "But I'll still come back and visit next year. My sister is going to be a junior next year and my mom still will be head of the boosters, so I'll be back."
Both Gibson and Carter will have opportunities to play tennis at the college level.
Advancing to the PIAA Class AAA doubles tournament quarterfinals is quite an accomplishment. But upon further examination, the Upper St. Clair doubles team of sophomore Megan Adamo and junior Andrea Hammer had a performance that arguably was the second-best of any pairing in the tournament.
Adamo and Hammer won their first-round match in Hershey with ease, 6-2, 6-0, against Megan Fitzmaurice and Emily Yau of Emmaus.
The quarterfinal loss for Adamo and Hammer came to the team that ultimately would win the tournament, Lauren Stauffer and Caroline Barry of Manheim Township. Adamo and Hammer gave that team its closest match of the tournament, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.
Adamo and Hammer were the WPIAL tournament runners-up.
"It's helped that we've played doubles before in USTA tournaments," Hammer said. "That made us friends, but we've been friends even more outside of tennis, and that's been a strength for us on the court together."
Back playing with her own gender, Sarah Shashura returned to the familiar territory of the PIAA semifinals.
Shashura, a junior at Brownsville Area High School, took third place in the PIAA Class AAA singles tournament.
She was fourth as a freshman (then representing California High School) after winning the WPIAL title. Last season, Shashura elected to play for the California boys' team because the school had no girls' tennis team. She won the WPIAL boys' Class AA title but lost in the first round of the PIAA tournament.
She transferred to Brownsville this year after her family moved.
This season, playing as the WPIAL runner-up representative, Shashura took home PIAA bronze, capped by a win against Cristina Kaiser of Springfield Township in the consolation match.
"My serve has definitely gotten a lot better, and that's probably the strongest aspect of my game," said Shashura, who is ranked among the top 150 players nationally. "I want to get everything else to the level of my serve."