The CIF-SS Individual tournament has been dubbed by some as the Wimbledon of high school tennis. Only the top 2 singles players and top 2 doubles teams from each league in the Southland qualify, as determined by the league-ending tournaments at the end of the regular season. All 6 CIF-SS divisions are thrown together into one huge tournament, with sectionals held at 5 locations. The top 4 – 5 singles and doubles survivors from each sectional move on to the championship tournament the following week.
The Olympic League was represented entirely by Maranatha players, who performed very well, giving MHS its most successful day at CIF Individuals in modern history, with 3 of 4 entrants winning their opening round matches.
Being in Division 5 and playing in a tournament full of players from higher divisions is a tall order; so, when #1 Michael Wilkins/Aria Haver-Hilll and #2 Georgia Wilder/Amanda Yee learned the morning of that they would be matched against fellow Division 5 teams, their hopes were up. Freshly coming off of winning the team CIF-SS championship the week before, both teams knew they had the ability to contend with and defeat any other Div. 5 doubles team. They did just that, with Wilkins/Haver-Hill prevailing, 7-5, 6-1, and Wilder/Yee dominating, 6-1, 6-1, in their first round matches. The second round proved to be too tall a task, as Wilkins/Haver-Hill matched up against CIF-SS Division 2 champions, La Canada, while Wilder/Yee faced CIF-SS Open Division semi-finalist, Arcadia. Both teams failed to get a game, but competed hard.
In singles, #2 Malena Smith, drew the champion from CIF-SS Division 1, Santa Margarita, in the first round, managing to get a game in each set. Though the score seemed lopsided, Smith played some of her best tennis all season and can hold her head up high.
The day’s biggest winner was #1 Madison Kane, who was seeded and received a bye in the first round. She disposed of her second round opponent, 6-0, 6-0, before facing her stiffest test all season, the #1 from Palm Springs, highly ranked Shekinah Daffon. It was a hard-fought match, with Kane prevailing, 6-3, 6-3. The victory propelled Kane to the championship draw next week. It is the first time a Maranatha player has advanced this far in recent history.
What remains to be known is whether Kane will be placed in the play-in bracket on Tuesday or will be given an automatic entry into the Round of 16. That will be revealed this Wednesday.