With more than 300 schools all competing in one class in the sport of tennis, it is difficult to reach the championship match.
Amazingly, in the 2020-2021 school year, Delta finished as Doubles State Runner-Up in both boys’ tennis and girls’ tennis. Along the way, the Eagles knocked off tennis superpowers Indianapolis North Central (3700 students) and Carmel (5300 students).
Even more incredibly, this is the second time for the Eagles to accomplish this feat. Almost 20 years ago, in the 2001-2002 school year, Delta also was Doubles State Runner-Up in both boys’ and girls’ tennis.
On June 11 and 12, 2021, seniors Maggie Manor and Tynan Dishman played three matches in the State Doubles. In the quarterfinals, they beat previously undefeated Covington, 6-2, 7-6. Then in the semifinals on Saturday morning, they eliminated top-seeded Carmel 6-3, 6-3. In the championship match, they faced seniors Abby Myers and Margo Throop of Evansville Memorial. Those same two girls were State Runner-Up in doubles in 2019 before Covid canceled the 2020 season.
Myers and Throop were 26-1 and had not lost a set since April 5. Manor and Dishman, who entered with a 26-2 record, won the opening set 6-3. Memorial rallied for a 4-1 lead in the second set, but Delta won four straight games to take a 5-4 lead. By this point, however, the Eagles were struggling physically as Tynan’s pre-existing hip injury was acting up and Maggie’s dehydration in the 92-degree sweltering heat was taking a toll. Over the next 20 minutes, the Eagles reached match point four different times, but Memorial hold on to win the set in a 12-10 tiebreaker. The third set was anticlimactic as Memorial won 6-1 with Maggie unable to move well due to cramping. She spent five hours in the hospital after the match due to dehydration. Maggie and Tynan finished the season 26-3 together.
In mid-October, senior Brandon Jackson and junior Walker Boyle put together their own dramatic run to finish as State Runner-Up. They started the season 10-1 before Boyle was quarantined by Covid protocols. He missed the next 10 matches (Jackson went 9-1 in those matches with freshman Dalton Royal as his partner).
Walker returned for the final regular-season match in a strong victory over a good Mt. Vernon team. But then the season took another twist. While operating a tool in his class at the Muncie Area Career Center, he cut the index finger on his racket hand a couple of days before sectional. With the finger wrapped and utilizing a special grip to minimize pressure on his index finger, he was able to power through five sectional, regional and semi-state victories, including a three-set comeback victory over Indianapolis North Central in the semi-state.
Then, he was quarantined b Covid protocols yet again, missing several practices. He returned in time for a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Culver Military Academy in the quarterfinals of the State Doubles meet. That match was played over a two-day span due to rain. In Saturday’s semifinals, the Eagles played an outstanding match against traditional tennis power Munster, winning 6-4, 6-3. One of the Munster players, junior Charlie Morton, was State Runner-Up the previous year.
This put the Eagles into the State Championship match, which was delayed until Monday. The Eagles never got untracked against Carmel and lost 0-6, 1-6. Jackson and Boyle finished the year 18-2 together (Jackson was 27-3 overall).
In the 2001-2002 school year, the Eagles also reached the State Championship match in both boys’ and girls’ doubles. In the Fall of 2001, seniors Daniel Jackson (Brandon’s uncle) and Kelly Robbins lost in the championship to Carmel, 3-6, 4-6.
Jackson and Robbins plowed through the regular season with a 23-0 record that fall. In fact, they did not even lose a set! In one stretch they were so dominant that they won 120 straight games over a period of 10 matches!
They then beat an undefeated team from Penn in straight sets in the state quarterfinals, before handling a strong Columbus North team in straight sets in the semifinals. The dream season ended with the loss to Carmel in the State Championship match at the Five Seasons Sports Country Club.
A few months later in Spring 2002, two more seniors, Sarah Peckinpaugh and Kat Yadon, went on their own run to the championship match. The previous season, Peckinpaugh had finished State Runner-Up in doubles with a different partner, Ashli Smith. As seniors, Peckinpaugh and Yadon cruised through the regular season with a 21-1 record, losing only in a third-set tiebreaker to Floyd Central. They beat Cathedral and Carmel in straight sets in regular season matches.
In the State Doubles quarterfinals, Sarah and Kat easily defeated Perry Meridian. In the semifinals, they topped Vincennes Lincoln 6-3, 6-3 to reach the championship match against Indianapolis North Central.
North Central featured senior Karin Agness and a strong foreign exchange student at No. 1 doubles. Agness had won the state doubles title the previous season with a 30-0 record (beating Peckinpaugh and Smith 6-2, 6-1 in the finals), then went undefeated again as a senior at 29-0 in winning her second straight championship.
Kat and Sarah won the first set 6-3, but fell 4-6 and 3-6 in the final two sets. The match had plenty of drama as the North Central exchange student took a medical timeout after Yadon hit her with a powerful overhead smash late in the second set. The momentum seemed to switch toward North Central from that point on.
Altogether Delta has competed in the State Championship match eight times (seven times in doubles and once in singles).
In addition to the five matches described above:
- The Eagles competed in the 1993 girls’ doubles final match, with seniors Karyn Christopher and Angie Calvert losing in three sets to North Central
- In Spring 2006, junior Hayley Hall reached the State Singles championship, losing to Clarksville’s Tiffany Welcher in the finals. Hall finished the season 26-1.
- In Fall 2007, seniors Dan Klingenberg and Jeff Price advanced to the championship match of State Doubles. They beat Jasper in straight sets in the semifinals, then fell 1-6, 5-7 to Center Grove in the championship. Klingenberg and Price finished 29-1.