CHARLESTON — “Match No. 11 on deck.”
The announcement rang out loudly across the tennis complex at Charleston Catholic at May 12’s WVSSAC Class AAA state tennis tournament. Morgantown’s Bella Mascari made her way to an official to check in for her match. There was just one problem: Her partner was still on another court, in the middle of a match.
MHS No. 4 singles competitor Mackenzie Sorton was scheduled to start her No. 2 doubles contest with Mascari, but was busy dueling for a state championship. Sorton took her opponent down to the third set in a grueling battle, but could not close the victory.
For Sorton, there was no time to mourn the loss; she had to turn around and play another match.
“It wasn’t too bad. I used to run cross-country, and I still run on my own to this day, so that helps me a lot with endurance,” she said.
The second time Sorton hit the court that morning, she knew she would not be denied again. She dug deep, pulling out the strength to help put down a stout Woodrow Wilson pair in just two sets to grab a doubles state championship.
“I think we were just a little nervous to start, but we came together and by the end we were playing as well as we normally do,” Mascari said.
It was the pair’s second taste of the top, after earning a title in No. 3 doubles last year in Charleston.
“It’s really nice to come out and win it together,” Sorton said. “We’re really good friends. We’re always in it together.”
Mascari was happy to share another championship experience with her friend, and hopes to keep the hot streak going next spring.
“It’s great to do it again with Mackenzie, and I think we’ll probably be able to do it again next year,” Mascari said. “It’s exciting to share it with her.”
Cat Wassick joined the pair in victory at the No. 2 singles position, and she nabbed a three-set victory early in the day’s action to secure her first state championship. She was also named to the all-state team for her efforts.
“It feels good,” she said. “I faced a great player, and I did what I had to do. I just kept thinking that I had to get to every ball and not get down on myself.”
The strong finals performances helped lead MHS to a runner-up finish in the team standings. The Mohigans fell just one win short of the team championship.
“We’ve been working toward this all year long. We fell one match short of the title, and it was a tough three-setter,” MHS coach Ted Greenlee said. “We’re only going to get better next year, and I’m real thrilled to see the girls compete the way we did.”
Greenlee noted he was extremely proud of the effort his team showed on the courts, and was glad to be a part of such a monumental weekend.
“I think they played their hearts out. The only matches we lost were three-set matches; just questions of points here and there,” he said. “It was a great weekend and everybody had a great time.”