MHS girls singles players push each other

Midland High girls singles players Montserrat Salazar and Sarah Stewart are going to face some of their toughest competition this season when they head to the regional tournament.

The good news is that they do not have to look for a comparable practice partner to prepare for the tournament.

In a unique situation, Stewart and Salazar will be the two district 2-6A qualifiers from the same team when the Region I-6A Tennis Tournament takes place Tuesday and Wednesday at the Arlington Tennis Center.

“We hit together almost every day,” Stewart said of Salazar. “We’re good for each other. We’re both consistent. When we hit and warm up, it’s really good. ”

The top two players will draw 16-person girls singles in advance of the UIL Tennis State Tournament, April 26-27 in San Antonio.

Stewart, a junior, won her regional berth when she won the District 2-6A girls singles title on March 31 in San Angelo. Meanwhile, Salazar punched her ticket with a runner-up at the District 2-6A Tennis Tournament.

Like Stewart, Salazar is making her second straight trip to the regionals in her senior season, but this time she made it to the top qualifying in her 2021 as the District 2-6A mixed doubles champion with former partner Connor Carriger.

Salazar, a native of Venezuela, has a high school following the Lubbock Christian and UT-Permian Basin at Play Tennis.

“It’s a good experience,” Salazar said of the regional tournament. “I will probably see more college tennis. It’s a higher level of tennis. ”

Added: MHS tennis coach Tom Heiting: “I’m really excited that (Salazar) decided to continue playing tennis. When she came to us as a freshman, she was pretty good. She’s matured and contributed every year. The accolades have piled on her. I think she’s definitely a player that will improve as she gets into college. She’s still moving up as far as her tennis game goes. ”

Stewart brings a 28-0 season record to the regional tournament. Stewart says her goal at this regional tournament is to advance more than she did last year when she was a sophomore.

“She’s done an outstanding job,” Heiting said of Stewart. “When you look back at it and all the people she’s played, her scores in general, she’s been super dominant this spring.”

Salazar and Stewart formed team tennis during a close bond, as they played a tandem and earned 2021 District 2-6A first team honors as the league’s top number. 1 girls doubles team.

Both girls are friends, push each other in a positive way and have a deep appreciation for what the other can do on the court.

“I like how in doubles she’s always put away the volleys and stuff and now that she’s over her singles game when she gets a short ball, she’ll come in and put away the volley,” says Stewart of Salazar.

Added: Salazar about Stewart: “I admire the way that she can stay so long for the point. Like sometimes she won’t give up on the ball. She’ll hit it back one more time, one more than her opponent could. ”

Heiting says Stewart and Salazar will keep the opposite sides in the draw, so that they won’t play the finals until each other.

“The past three tournaments we’ve played, we’ve met in the finals and she’s beat me,” Salazar said of Stewart. “They were good matches.”

Follow Christopher on Twitter: @chris_MRTsports

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