May 18th, 2013

SHA's English pulls off three-peat at state

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

SHA's English pulls off three-peat at state
Katherine English, left, and Sydney Thompson are champs / photo by Conor Revell

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Winning a state championship is rare, winning back-to-back championships is even more unusual  and if you three-peat, you join an elite club. And Katherine English did just that Saturday.

The Sacred Heart senior became the fifth person to win three straight KHSAA Girls Doubles State Championship when she and Sydney Thompson defeated Notre Dame’s Laura Irons and Catriona Shaughnessy 6-0, 7-6 at the University of Kentucky’s Boone/Downing Tennis Complex.

“It’s nice, but it’s for the girls,” Sacred Heart co-head coach Kristen English said. “I’m happy the team won so they’re happy. And I’m happy that Sydney won for the first time and Katherine is the first three-peat since 1978. It’s nice, it’s a big deal and it’s fun.”

English is the first three-peat doubles champion since Candy Jackson of Murray did it from 1978-80.

“It feels so good to win,” Katherine English beamed. “I’m especially happy to do it with a senior. We’re both seniors and it’s great to go out with a bang.”

“It really feels good to win,” Thompson said. “It’s my senior year and I really don’t care anymore that we didn’t win the other. This is the year it mattered.”

While it was English’s third straight title, it was Thompson’s first. Caitlin Hanley won state titles with English the previous two years.

“You have to get used to each other’s playing styles, when to know to calm each other down, when to pump each other up,” Katherine English said. “We both get each other pumped and we both really get along, and I think that really helps us win in the end.”

English looked for another doubles partner after Hanley graduated.  Thompson agreed to quit playing singles and join English on the court for her final year.

“Yes, I was playing singles. I mainly had to keep practicing, practicing and practicing,” Thompson said. “Practices really helped us. It helped us bond as a team and we learned how to work together.”

She doesn’t regret the move one bit.

“I’m so happy,” Thompson said. “With how this year went, I wouldn’t change anything about. Katherine has been a great partner and we got to win state as a team and win state doubles. It feels great.”

And, the two didn’t miss a beat Saturday. They looked like they had been playing together for years, allowing no more than three points in a set until the championship match.

Irons-Shaughnessy struggled in the first set as they couldn’t muster out a point. In the second set, the teams battled through six ties until English-Thompson broke through with the tie-breaking point to win it.

In addition to English winning it with a fellow senior, she also won it with her Mom as the head coach.

“This is why I have a co-coach,” English said. “He handles them really well and I just stay away. It’s better that way. It’s hard to coach your child. I mean, I can say a few things to her, but most of the time I let Jacob (McGill) talk to her and it works better. But it has really been fun.”



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