Delta tennis coach Tim Cleland said the expectations of postseason accolades for senior Madison Ashman increased this spring. Entering her senior year, Ashman had been an All-State honorable mention player, but she had never made the first or second team. So the initial goal was for her to be an All-State player on one of the two teams.
But as Ashman’s successful season continued this year (she had a 24-3 record), the idea of Ashman being a first-team all-state player began to creep into her coach’s head. A win against Indianapolis Cathedral’s Grace Koscielski (a returning first-team All-State player who earned the honor again this season) stood out to Cleland.
“That was a point where you said, ‘OK, well wait a minute. She just might be a first-team all-state-type player,’ ” Cleland said.
Ashman was recently announced as an All-State first-team honoree by the Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Association, one of 15 singles players on the list. Ashman’s season ended at the Kokomo Regional, where she lost in three sets to another All-State first-team player, West Lafayette’s Sarah Cai.
Ashman said she was somewhat surprised to be named to the first team. In her talks with Cleland after the season, making the second team seemed more certain, while the prospect of being on the first team seemed like more of an unknown. Ashman was one of 16 players who competed in individual regionals, and more players were still alive but had not yet filtered in from the team tournament.
“I was surprised,” Ashman said. “And I felt honored when I looked at all the girls that were on the list next to my name. Because they’re all really awesome.”
Two of Ashman’s former teammates, Marissa Morris and Natalie Alexander, were All-State first-team doubles players last year in their senior seasons. Given that much of Delta’s history is built on success in doubles, Ashman said it means a lot to represent the program as an All-State singles player.
“It’s kind of a big deal when we have some good singles players in the lineup,” Ashman said. “And I think it’s just really cool that I’ll be able to be a part of that, and we have a big thing up at our courts, and my name will be able to be on that. I think that’s really cool.”
Cleland said he believes Ashman’s career qualifies her as the No. 2 girls tennis player in school history. Hayley Hall was a four-time All-State first-team honoree, and has a firm grip on the top spot, he said. But he believes Ashman has placed herself in the second position. She also finished this season as an academic All-State honoree, and competed in the North vs. South All Star Tennis Cup.