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Reading High girls tennis wins first Berks team championship

Reading High defeated three-time defending champion Conrad Weiser 3-2 in the final of the BCIAA girls team tennis tournament Monday at Laureldale to give the Red Knights their first county tennis title in program history.

After each side won two matches, the championship came down to a tiebreaking set at No. 2 singles match between Reading High’s Valeria Sanchez and Weiser’s Victoria Waltz.

With her teammates and dozens of spectators watching, Sanchez defeated Waltz 6-3 in the final set to win 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

Reading High's Valeria Sanchez. (COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK)
Reading High’s Valeria Sanchez. (COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK)

“I really don’t have words,” Sanchez said. “I was trying my best and I knew I could do more. So something clicked in my head, I guess, and I was just like, ‘I’m not letting my team down.’ We’ve come all this way.”

Sanchez and Waltz were tied 3-3 in the final set before Sanchez won three games in a row behind high velocity shots. Her teammates stormed the court in celebration after Sanchez scored the final point.

“That was the best moment of this whole entire day,” Sanchez said of the celebration. “I can’t describe it; it was great.

The Reading High girls
The Red Knights celebrate after Valeria Sanchez defeats Conrad Weiser’s Victoria Waltz to win the BCIAA girls team tennis tournament. (COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK)

“I played four years for Reading High and it’s amazing, just being able to represent and keep going and having the motivation to not give up.

“This is the first county championship that Reading has ever won for girls tennis, and I’m glad to be a part of the Reading High history. It’s an amazing feeling.”

For third-year coach Mike Fisher, the win is a product of his team’s dedication and hard work. The history-making victory is even more special as Fisher dedicated the win to former Red Knights coach Russ Moore, who passed away in 2020.

Fisher said Moore would have been both proud and happy for Reading High’s accomplishment.

“Two years ago, Coach Moore passed away; I know he’s looking down on those girls so that’s for Coach Moore,” Fisher said. “I’m overjoyed and I’m just happy for the girls, especially those seniors. They’ve worked their butts off all year. They deserve to be here and they deserve to win this Berks County title.

“It feels nice that these girls, they climbed their way to that mountaintop. And that’s where they are: they’re at the peak right now. They’re the champs of Berks County.”

Conrad Weiser (13-2) came in having won the past three BCIAA team titles. Reading High (15-1) knocked off the Scouts in the regular season to snap their 74-game regular season winning streak.

Conrad Weiser's Victoria Waltz. (COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK)
Conrad Weiser’s Victoria Waltz. (COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK)

Fisher said the Red Knights’ regular season win gave them confidence heading into the final.

“It definitely gives us confidence when you beat a team that hasn’t been beaten five years or so,” Fisher said. “So that was our No. 1; that’s the one we circled all year, like let’s get this one going.

“I told the girls yesterday or on Saturday, I said, ‘It starts all over, the season starts now. What matters is this game and this game only,’ and that’s what we carried into this one. So it’s certainly nice in the regular season to get that win, but it’s a lot better when you get the win in the county final.”

Each team had won two matches earlier.

For Conrad Weiser, Berks singles champ Emma Perkins defeated Reading High’s Ashley Retana 6-1, 6-4  at No. 1 singles, while Emily McGonigle and Reagan Wenrich defeated Sarah Alicea and Hillary Quezada 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2 doubles.

Conrad Weiser's Emma Perkins. (COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK)
Conrad Weiser’s Emma Perkins. (COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK)

For Reading High, Hailey Guerrero defeated Isabel Wiggins 6-3, 6-2 at No. 3 singles, while Hallie Guerrero and Kaitlyn Retana defeated Lydia Bashore and Charlotte Wenrich 6-2, 6-2 at No 1. doubles.

Ashley Retana said that she hopes her and her team can ride the momentum from the county championship and make more history at districts.

Reading High's Ashley Retana. (COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK)
Reading High’s Ashley Retana. (COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK)

“I’ve been waiting three years for a blue medal,” Retana said. “And I’m really happy that I can leave knowing that my team is going to be in good hands and that we were able to take a title.

“We have districts coming up; all kinds of districts. So we’re hoping to at least go far and leave a mark in Reading High history.”

Reading High's Ashley Retana, right, and Valeria Sanchez meet in celebration after the Red Knights win the BCIAA girls tennis team championship.
Reading High’s Ashley Retana, right, and Valeria Sanchez join in celebration after the Red Knights win the BCIAA girls team tennis tournament. (COURTESY OF BILL SNOOK)


Source: Berkshire mont

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