PEQUOT LAKES -- There are certain milestones in high school athletics that can define an athlete's career, like scoring 1,000 points in basketball, winning 100 wrestling matches or rushing for 1,000 yards in a season.
Pequot Lakes senior tennis player Ashley Meschke attained one of those benchmarks Thursday as she won the 100th tennis match of her varsity career at the Perham quadrangular. Meschke blanked Tonya Neisen of Mahnomen 10-0 in a pro-set match. She later won her 101st match, defeating Molly Paulson of Perham 10-1.
"I couldn't believe it when it happened," Meschke said of getting her 100th win. "I've been playing for so many years that leading up to this day, I didn't even realize that it would be such a big deal. It's such a big accomplishment that it hasn't even hit me yet.
"Tennis has been such a big part of my life and just to realize all the time I've put in to the sport makes this that much more special. But I also have to thank my parents and coaches for supporting me and pushing me to do my best."
Pequot Lakes tennis coach Mindi Brill has had a bird's-eye view of Meschke's accomplishment and knows this is as big as it gets.
"This is such a big accomplishment for Ashley," Brill said. "There's not too many coaches that can say they coached a girl with 100 wins and there's not too many girls in the state that have achieved something like this."
Patriots players and fans went to Perham ready to celebrate. Cards and posters were made up for Meschke while flowers, cake and lemonade also awaited. Once she got the victory, matches were stopped and tribute was paid to Meschke for her outstanding career.
Meschke started playing tennis while living in Little Falls but moved to Pequot Lakes as an eighth-grader and began her varsity career. She participated in the Class 1A state meet tournament her sophomore and junior seasons and later this year hopes to make her third trip to state, where she hasn't advanced beyond the first round.
"Ashley is one of the top players in Minnesota and she would love to go down and win her first-round match," said Brill. "Most of the girls that are down there are in tennis and that's it. Ashley is involved in music and is a straight A student. For her to compete at that level says a lot for her as an individual."
Meschke said the section victories that qualified her for state tournaments stick out the most in her storied tennis career.
"Nothing compares to making it to state," Meschke said. "Those matches are great because you're playing against the best players in the state."
A few other matches that Meschke holds close to her heart are the ones she's played against her sisters, Liz and Valerie.
Liz plays golf at Concordia College in Moorhead while Valerie is a sophomore and the No. 2 singles player for the Patriots. Ashley believes that her younger sister has the ability to match her in wins and she would love to see her do it.
"We work on each other's games and tell each other what to work on," Ashley said. "Val can really play and I'm really proud of her. I think she could get 100 wins, too. We're each other's biggest fans.
"We're also our best competition. We get some pretty hard-core matches going. We get angry and frustrated when we're losing to each other, but afterwards we're fine."
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