It’s been an eventful spring season for Jade Lancaster.
When the Sumner High freshman walked onto the tennis courts, it was about getting the team experience that is unique to high school sports. Especially one such as tennis.
But by the end of her first season, Lancaster had helped the Spartans to a 3A South Puget Sound League and district title, all backed behind her MVP performance in the singles bracket.
“I was able to accomplish far more than I expected I would when I first started at the beginning of the season,” said Lancaster, who won the West Central District III singles championship.
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I was able to accomplish far more than I expected I would when I first started at the beginning of the season.
Lancaster’s stellar season ended at the Tri City Court Club in Kennewick, where the freshman won the 3A girls singles state championship (7-6, 6-0) over Interlake’s Angel Le, becoming Sumner’s first tennis player in nearly 40 years to win a state title.
“It’s been a lot to take in (with) everyone coming up to me, all online and on Twitter and everything,” Lancaster said. “At first, I couldn’t put my hand on(winning) — but over the time, I’ve been like, ‘Wow, I just won state.’ It was really good to feel that way.”
After such a dominant spring where Lancaster entered the season as one of Washington’s premier tennis players (fifth-ranked girls player on Tennisrecruit.com), her newly-won state title is sure to have this young Spartan on the rise.
“I looked at it the other day — I pay attention to (the rankings). I like to see where I’m ranked at compared to other girls I’ve played,” Lancaster said.
“People on the team knew who she was coming into the season. We knew the talent we were getting,” coach Kathleen McGuire said at the beginning of the season.
Yet, there is one nagging question that Lancaster must answer this summer. One that will define her time playing tennis in high school and at Sumner.
It’s fair question for Lancaster, who only entered the Sumner tennis season for camaraderie, not to claim individual awards or titles from her success. Those accomplishments were bonuses from her season with Sumner.
“I would go to school during the day, and then follow that with tennis with Sumner, and then follow that with club tennis until night,” Lancaster said. “It’s very tiring and I’m not sure I can do that again. We’ll have to (wait and) see.”
Still, the wear and tear of a grueling season with Sumner followed by year-round club tennis can wear any athlete thin. Lancaster is at that point right now.
But pride still pumps through Lancaster’s veins, the standard for a member of a family of competitors. Sister Jessica played tennis for Auburn Riverside and Pacific Lutheran University, and Brooke currently plays soccer for Seattle Pacific.
It will be here that Lancaster finds her answers on whether she comes back next year as Sumner takes its jump into Class 4A.
I won my first state before (Brooke) did, but she still has two over me. Can’t let her hold that over me.
“I won my first state before (Brooke) did, but she still has two over me. Can’t let her hold that over me,” Lancaster joked. “Matching her state titles will definitely be a motivation going forward.”
With one title down and three years still on the docket, Lancaster has the time to match her sisters. But whether or not she wants to remains to be seen.
The choice is her’s to make.