The Tulare County girls tennis player of the year award was decided on the tennis court on the second to last day of the season.
Monache’s Electa Wright faced Redwood’s Lora Gubler in the Central Section Individual Valley quarterfinals with the winner earning the distinction of being the last Tulare County tennis player standing.
In the end, it was Wright outlasting Gubler 6-3, 6-4 to reach the Valley semifinals and become the 2013 Times-Delta/Advance-Register Tulare County girls tennis player of the year.
“It was a match I was definitely looking forward to,” Wright said. “I had played Lora in a tournament over the summer and I lost to her. It felt like a little revenge because I didn’t beat her the first time and it was a very tough match.”
Wright was definitely happy with being able to reach the semifinals, but she wasn’t entirely happy with the way her season ended.
She lost in the semifinals the next morning and had to withdraw from the third-place match because of an injury.
The good news for Wright is she is only a junior and was able to learn a lot from her matches as she looks to make another run to the final four in 2013.
“I learned that I need to hydrate more and eat better,” Wright said. “I had to forfeit my third-place match because I didn’t hydrate enough and my hips started hurting me bad. I need to hydrate better next year, which is something my parents have been telling me for years.”
Wright posted a 31-3 record during the season, and she won her third consecutive East Yosemite League singles title.
“Her work ethic is very strong,” Monache coach Gary Perez said. “I think with her on-court tenacity, she’s willing to grind that point out if she has to. She is also very adept at taking that point if the opportunity presents itself. She’s a tough out. She’s willing to stay in there and fight if she has to.”
Wright figures to be in position to have another memorable season in 2014 as an individual.
But she also hopes to have a memorable season for her team.
“It was a great season,” Wright said. “We could have done better. We lost in the second round of playoffs and we were disappointed because I thought we had a good chance to win Valley.”
The Marauders lose their No. 2 player in Dahlia Martinez, but Wright feels her team can still be a top contender for a Central Section Division II championship.
“It will be different next year without her, but I think we’ll still be a pretty deep team,” Wright said.
Wright will have a lot on the line individually next season. She hopes to continue her tennis career at a four-year school. She already has received some letters from some colleges and is hoping to secure a scholarship to keep playing.
Perez said she has what it takes to play tennis at the next level, and he feels she can still get a lot better, which is a scary thought for anybody who crosses her path on the tennis court next season.
“I think she has room to improve,” he said. “I think if she works on her physical stature, she can be a real dominant force.”