What’s better than winning one state championship? Two state championships.
Angela Schuster hasn’t lost a tennis match in nearly two years. Last year in her sophomore campaign, Schuster posted an undefeated record en route to her first state championship.
It was Timberline’s first state girls singles tennis champion in the school’s history.
“It was amazing,” Schuster said. “I wanted to win so bad. It’s like the most I’ve ever wanted anything. When I found out I won, I paused for a little bit, and my brother started screaming ‘state champ.’
“And then it kind of hit me.”
If it’s possible, Schuster is even better this season as she gears up for a run at title No. 2. Her first round of the state tournament is Friday in the Tri-Cities.
In addition to attending competitive tennis tournaments outside of school play, she’s worked on her overall fitness and strength. Her coach, Kristine Mosher, has noticed.
“Her serve – both placement and power – has gotten a lot better,” Mosher said. “I know she works out on her own and I know she has PE so she works out there. It’s not really our practices that make Angela a better tennis player.”
Schuster said her serve is more consistent, and she’s more comfortable coming to the net because she’s faster and able to get her shot up better than in the past. All of which makes her play more aggressively, she said.
And that helps her in her quest for another title.
“This one matters a little more to me,” Schuster said. “... I always wanted to be the state champ and now I want to do it again. That’s why it means more.”
There’s pressure being a state champion, even one that’s changed classifications. Timberline was a 4A school in 2016 and now competes in 3A.
A lot of her matches were played against opponents she had never faced before. However, two of her tougher matches this season came against players in the South Sound Conference.
Schuster beat Gig Harbor’s Joyce Park, who took third at state last year in 4A, and North Thurston foreign exchange student Izabella Bilecová. Both are also competing in this weekend’s 3A tournament.
Schuster cruised through the district tournament by sweeping her first three opponents. She beat Park, 6-4, 6-1, to earn the district title.
Mosher says there is going to be competition no matter what classification you’re in.
“Tennis is different because it doesn’t really matter the size of your school,” Mosher said. “There’s a bunch of kids who went to state last year that are back this year and there are other players that you may not even know about that will be there.”
Schuster says she’s ready for whatever this weekend throws at her.
“My brothers and my dad always talk about positive and mental attitude,” Schuster said. “There’s really no point in talking bad about a situation so I always put everything in a positive twist. I might be nervous but I’m going to go in there with confidence because it’s going to help. I have a lot more tournament experience so I’m used to the competition.”