School: Tulare Union
Season: East Yosemite League girls tennis championships don't come around often at Tulare Union. They are so rare that head coach Ron Berry, who has coached the team since 2000, said he doesn't know when the Redskins last won a league title.
He will certainly remember 2012. After years of build up, the Redskins finally brought home the hardware with a 9-1 record in EYL competition. Berry's best estimation for the last time a Tulare Union girls tennis won a league title is "sometime in the mid-90's." He also believes this is the first time a girls tennis team other than Porterville or Monache has won the league during that same time frame.
The long wait for an outright league championship was even delayed beyond the scheduled end of the season. Tulare Union clinched a share of the title with a 5-4 victory over Tulare Western on October 18, but did not clinch it outright until Porterville finished its victory over Monache the following day in a match suspended by darkness.
The wait was well worth it for Berry and his senior-laden team that kept motivated and focused throughout the title drought in order to finally reach their goal. Holding his team's new position at the top will be a new challenge Berry must take on with only his No. 2 and 3 ranked players returning next season.
Comments: "We had a group of girls come together as a team. We relied on every player. There were no all-stars. We literally needed every player to contribute vitally to our program.
"... This was not totally out of the blue, although it was a surprise that we won (an EYL title), even to us. There was a bit of a build up. What really made a difference was that I was able to work with all the different stakeholders. This was the most success I've had in bringing all the stakeholders together. Everything came together. If you took out one piece it might all have come apart. I let go a little. I let everyone play their role and gave up some of my power."