Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 21, 2018

Back-to-back-to-back SEC Champs

Trojan girls tennis team claims four singles and one doubles title on way to third straight team championship
By Justin Webster | May 08, 2018
Photo by: JUSTIN WEBSTER/Ledger photo The 2018 SEC champion girls tennis team from Fairfield is, from left, Anna Beasley, Cami Schaefer, Nellie Higdon, Hermela Gebremariam, Yana Gaskell and Anatta Charoenkul. Also pictured in the front is Head Coach Heidi Grunwald.

It took a total team effort Monday at the Fairfield middle school courts, but the Trojan girls tennis team scored points in all nine brackets to secure a 22-20 victory over second-place Fort Madison and capture their third consective Southeast Conference team title.

Fairfield crowned four individual champions, No. 1 Anatta Charoenkul, No. 2 Yana Gaskell, No. 3 Cami Schaefer and No. 5 Anna Beasley, while No. 4 Hermela Gebremariam and No. 6 Nellie Higdon were both runners-up in their brackets.

Charoenkul continued her domination with 8-0 wins in both of her singles contests, keeping her undefeated in both matches and games for the season so far.

Gaskell won her first match 8-2 over Mt. Pleasant and the championship against Fort Madison 8-1 with little effort.

“All of my matches were pretty one-sided,” said Gaskell. She did admit, “It was hot out and I was sweating so I was trying to make sure I didn’t drop my racket.”

Schaefer defeated Keokuk 8-1 in the semifinal before “upsetting” the top seed in the No. 3 bracket, Kearstyn Johnson, 8-4 for three points for the Trojans.

“I was able to stay consistent and hit my spots,” shared the senior Schaefer. She added, “My serving also went pretty well.”

No. 4 Gebremariam played the most games of the day, first winning winning 8-6 over Keokuk and then falling 8-6 to Fort Madison in another long match to finish second and earn the team an important two points.

In the No. 5 bracket, Anna Beasley won 16 of 22 games played to sweep Mt. Pleasant and Fort Madison for the title.

No. 6 Nellie Higdon defeated the Panthers representative 8-0 before falling in a tough 9-8(7-2) championship match against Fort Madison.

Entering the doubles matches, Fairfield had earned 16 of a possible 18 points, but the Bloodhounds would not fade away with their 13 total points thanks to only seven points won by the Panthers and Chiefs.

“It was definitely a roller coaster,” said skipper Heidi Grunwald. “I was very nervous at the end of singles and knew it was a tight contest between us and Fort Madison.”



The Trojans top pairing struggled in the first match against Fort Madison, losing 8-2 to fall to the consolation match against Mt. Pleasant.

“I think we just need to work more on a gameplan,” said Charoenkul after the match. “I know we’re both really good players, especially on the singles side and maybe we both prefer playing singles more, but we love playing with each other, so we’re trying to work it out.”

The duo did work it out in the third-place match with an easy 8-1 victory over the Panthers pair. No. 2 was Schaefer and Gaskell who claimed the lone doubles title for the Trojans with an 8-0 win in the semi’s and a sigh-of-relief inducing 8-1 victory in the championship against Fort Madison that secured the team title since the No. 3 pair was guaranteed atleast two points for Fairfield just by making their finals match.

“Once we secured the No. 2 doubles title, I could breathe a little easier,” admitted Grunwald. “It’s great to see them win three years in a row.”

As for the championship pair, Schaefer was excited to have claimed her first doubles title in her final attempt as a senior while Gaskell simply replied with “You’re welcome” and a smirk.


Team standings

Fairfield 22

Fort Madison 20

Keokuk 9

Mt. Pleasant 3

Now the Trojans will prepare for the regional tennis tournament versus Albia, Centerville and Davis County Saturday in Fairfield with the matches scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

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