Taylor Headlee has flourished ever since she was installed as the No. 1 singles player for the Brainerd Warriors girls' tennis team.
She went 26-9 as a junior, finished third in the subsection and lost her only match in the section. This fall she went 16-7 before switching to doubles.
"I thought it went pretty well," Headlee said of her senior season. "There's a lot of hard competition at No. 1 singles. Obviously, it's tough most of the time, but it was fun."
Warriors coach Ellen Fussy said Headlee's singles season was a success.
"I liked how she varied her play when she met different opponents," Fussy said. "Some opponents are pushers, they get the ball back and don't make aggressive moves. Taylor handled that just fine. She also met a girl from St. Cloud Tech who, when she was in trouble, did a lot of moonballing and Taylor handled that.
Brainerd's Zoe Houle (left) and Taylor Headlee will play in the Class 2A state doubles tournament Thursday. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Positions: No. 1 singles, No. 1 doubles
Career highlight: Qualifying for state tennis tournament
Grade-point average: 4.01
Favorite class: Math
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite movie: Harry Potter
Favorite TV show: American Idol
Favorite Web site: gap.com
Future plans: Attend North Dakota State, major in engineering
Favorite athlete: Teammate Zoe Houle
Parents: Angie and Todd Headlee
"Her patience as a senior and captain was evident with her play, her mental ability to stay focused, not have meltdowns, and stay positive. You could tell being No. 1 for two years was a real advantage for her."
Despite her singles background, Headlee always wanted to play doubles with teammate Zoe Houle.
"Zoe and I have wanted to play together since junior high, but it never really worked out because I wanted to play singles or they wanted me to play singles (in the postseason) and Zoe was playing with other people," Headlee said. "It's our senior year and we really wanted to play together, which we got to.
"I really like (doubles) but it's kind of tough sometimes. On the same day you play the section team (tournament), that night you play doubles. Switching back and forth can be tough, but we clicked. We complement each other well."
The duo combined to win Central Lakes Conference and North Subsection 8-2A titles and were runners-up in the section tournament. They became the first Brainerd girls to qualify for state in 18 years.
"We're going to work our hardest," Headlee said of the state doubles tournament, which begins Thursday. "We'll play the toughest teams in the state because they play all year round in their nice indoor facilities, but I think we can keep up with them."
Fussy said Headlee has made a smooth transition to doubles.
"She's playing loose and confident," Fussy said. "You could see she was confident out there. You could tell she was comfortable, relaxed and confident."
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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