Our beloved late "North Viking" (former boys tenis coach) is smiling down from above as the Lady Vikings won their first City Tennis Championship over perennial champion Firestone (won every championship 1999-2021 besides 2012)
From Beacon Journal
From Beacon Journal
North High School Athletic Director Carrie Stewart has placed an order to purchase a banner to celebrate the Vikings girls tennis team.
North clinched the regular season City Series championship earlier this season, and Thursday it won four out of the five brackets in the league’s tournament to earn a postseason title at Hyre Park’s Glenn Young Tennis Courts in Akron.
For the Vikings, its the first girls tennis title in program history.
“I have seen a lot of work hard and dedication from the girls,” North fourth-year coach Ger Vang said. “A lot of them have natural talent that they just never explored. They had an opportunity to play, and when they put all their effort into it they learned really fast. That is why they were successful.”
North’s team victory ended Firestone’s run as the City Series girls tennis team champion from 2013-2021. Firestone won all of the league titles from 1999-2011. Ellet won the City Series crown in 2012.
Vang, 34, was selected as the City Series Coach of the Year. He was born in Laos and moved to the United States as a child. He graduated from Garfield High School in 2007 and the University of Akron in 2011.
“It is fantastic to see North win the championship,” Firestone coach Craig Sampsell said. “Obviously, it hurts to lose, but it is great seeing more competition and better tennis in general in the City. Hopefully, this will spur something where more players come out to play. This can help get more people interested and excited about tennis. It is good for City sports altogether to have more competition.”
Firestone sophomore Aggie Llewellyn won the first singles championship by topping North sophomore Oceana Lee 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) in the final. The 15-year-old players, both born and raised in Akron, split their regular season matchups.
“That was probably the best match I have seen her play all season,” Sampsell said of Llewellyn, the City Series Player of the Year. “Her all-around game was great.”
Llewellyn (9-5) and Lee (15-3) are friends who trained with each other at Towpath Tennis Center in Akron during the summer.
“It is hard because we do play together often, but we were 1-1 in high school and the final match was almost like rock, paper, scissors, best two out of three,” said the 5-foot-3 Llewellyn, who has a 4.1 GPA. “I wanted to pull through and give it all I have.”
North won the other four courts with junior Prija Rai at second singles, junior Lhasang Tamang at third singles, juniors Nirjana Tamang and Kajal Subba at first doubles and juniors Prabina Majhi and Chandra Rai at second doubles.
“I am so proud of our team,” said the 5-foot Lee, who has a 4.0 GPA and attends Akron Early College High School. “A lot of our girls started this year and they are amazing.”
The Rais, Subba, Majhi and the Tamangs were all born in Nepal and moved to the United States.
“This was Prija Rai and Lhasang Tamang’s first girls season,” Vang said. “They played on the [North] boys team last season. They started playing competitive tennis in the spring. … Chandra Rai is in her first year playing. Nirjana Tamang, Kajal Subba and Prabina Majhi came late into the season last year, so this is their second year.”
North has a 16-2 record in duals this season against a blend of varsity and junior varsity teams.
The Vikings have two wins apiece over Firestone, Ellet, Garfield, Kent Roosevelt and Tallmadge JV, single wins over Our Lady of the Elms, Coventry, Barberton, Field, Norton JV and Canton McKinley JV, and losses to Cuyahoga Falls and Stow.