Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

Gaskell, Charoenkul all Trojan district final

By Justin Webster | May 17, 2018
Photo by: JUSTIN WEBSTER/Ledger photo Yana Gaskell, left, qualified for the state singles tournament as a freshman and Anatta Charoenkul, right, will be making her third appearance as a junior.

Wednesday’s Class 1A Region 7 girl’s tennis tournament saw two Trojans dominate the singles bracket en route to meeting for a fantastic final. In the end freshman Yana Gaskell defeated junior Anatta Charoenkul for the district title and a seed in the upcoming state tournament in Waterloo.

Charoenkul defeated Riley Jones of Davis County 6-0, 6-0 in the round of sixteen, Fort Madison’s Mercedee Doty 6-1, 6-0 in the quarterfinals and Julia Thomas of Davenport Assumption 6-0, 6-0 in the semis before falling to Yana in the final.

Gaskell, who was born in Lancashire, England and moved here with her family 12 years ago, started playing tennis when she was 10 according to her father who admits that it’s often easier to stand far away and just let the match play out than to sit close and lose your nerves on every point.

Mark Gaskell also said his daughter tends to play her best tennis when she’s mad and that may explain the result from Wednesday’s final.

Fairfield boy’s Head Coach Bill Shepherd said that there are crucial moments in every match and he predicted the outcome would be decided on the emotional level since both girls are beyond capable of hitting every shot, as seen by their 10-12 volley exchanges on each point.

Gaskell was positioned to win the first set, but lost a set point that would have sealed it and ended up losing 5-7. She did not like this at all.

“If I get angry it fires me up to play better,” said Gaskell. She continued, “After the first set when I lost the set point and I was pretty determined to win that second set and I fought hard for it.”

She did fight back and won the second set 6-3.

“Absolutely top-quality tennis,” is what Shepherd called the match and said the pair knows each other’s games well and it’s no surprise to either player that it’s a long grueling match.

With both players qualified for state just by making the final, Gaskell said that while she was determined to win, “It wasn’t going to be the end of the world,” if she lost since she was already qualified for Waterloo.

It was important for seeding though and with a 6-2 victory in the final set, Gaskell secured the seed at the state tournament and that forces Charoenkul into a bit trickier side of the bracket where she will likely face her tennis nemesis from Waterloo Columbus, Olivia Fain.

Both players said it was great competition playing each other and they had fun. Both also think it would be cool to have an all Fairfield state championship final.

Bill Shepherd also said this about the match while watching it Wednesday, “Tennis is about playing an opponent that forces you to play at your peak game and how often does that ever happen?!”

It happened yesterday and the Trojans are hoping it happens again in a couple of weeks in Waterloo.



Hermela Gebremariam and Cami Schaefer played as a pair for the first time this season and did well in their first match, winning 6-1, 6-3 over Kirby and Oglesby from Centerville.

Hermela said they communicated well for not having played together this season and Cami agreed and said it’s likely because they are used to each other while some of it just comes from being used to playing doubles.

Unfortunately, their run ended in the quarterfinals when they lost 6-1, 6-2 to Keokuk’s Hall and Lozano.

Anna Beasley and Nellie Higdon played in the first round but got a tough draw against the top seed and fell 6-3, 6-0 to Davenport Assumption’s Bush and Johnson who were eventually upset in the semifinals by West Burlington-Notre Dame.

The Nikes pair of Becker and Hackenmiller then lost 6-2, 6-1 in the final to Fort Madison’s Larson and Shirai.

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