State champ

CHARLESTON – Madison Juszczak must have felt like she was walking the red carpet at a Hollywood premiere Saturday.

After winning the West Virginia Class AA-A No. 4 Singles championship, the Oak Glen freshman emerged through a court door to a throng of well-wishers all waiting to congratulate her.

Following a season in which she lost just once, Juszczak was ready for the limelight.

And after helping lead the Golden Bears volleyball team to a state championship last fall, Juszczak earned this one herself.

“It’s nice,” she humbly said after accepting the state championship plaque. “This was my goal.

“(Winning a state championship) was in my mind, but I didn’t try to think about it. I just wanted to take everything match by match.”

“All my teammates are very disciplined and we all support each other.”

Oak Glen coach Ken Keller saw championship potential in Juszczak from the get-go.

“She came in already knowing how to play tennis and she meshed well with the other girls,” he said. “The other girls stepped up their games because of her.

“She’s just an all-around good player.”

Juszczak topped Keyser’s Kari Amtower 6-3, 6-1 to win the Ohio Valley’s only title on another rain-plagued day.

Oak Glen’s girls’ No. 3 Doubles tandem and Wheeling Central’s boys’ Doubles duo both fell in straight sets in their championship matches.

With the rain that moved through early Saturday, action began at the Tennis Indoor Center, across the street from the Kanawha City Community Center’s Schoenbaum Courts.

Later in the morning, moments after all eight outdoor courts were squeegeed and blown dry, the skies opened up again, relegating all matches to the four indoor courts for the day.

Juszczak jumped out strong against Amtower and continued to pour it on during the second set.

“I just took things game by game,” she said.

Amtower committed numerous unforced errors and looked like she was losing steam as Juszczak seemed to pick up stamina.

“I aimed for the corners and tried to run her down a bit,” Juszczak said.

As Juszczak wrapped up her victory, the Maroon Knights’ Daniel Lee and Gus Schmidt took the court against Charleston Catholic’s Scott Standish and Zach Casto.

Central was simply overmatched in a 6-1, 6-1 defeat.

Despite the loss, Central coach Peggy Dailer was pleased with the effort and is ready to welcome Schmidt, a freshman, back next season.

Lee is a senior.

“They really played hard and had a good time playing,” Dailer said. “I think they’re really happy with how they played.”

Dailer said the maturation process the duo went through during the season was exceptional.

“They really got better playing together,” she said. “Gus started to serve better and they really gelled.”

The day’s final AA-A match of the day pitted the Golden Bears’ Madison Hill and Lauren Pizzurro against Charleston Catholic’s Anna Whelan and Jenny Borman.

The Irish, the tournament’s boys’ and girls’ champs again, picked up a 6-1, 6-3 victory. Juszczak topped Borman in the singles semis.

“I’m proud of them and the whole team,” Keller said. “It was a good season.”