Younger Gadsden keeps Far East tennis singles family tradition
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa – Chloe Gadsden kept it in the family.
Following the footsteps of her sister and 2010 champion Amber, sophomore Chloe Gadsden won the Far East High School Tennis Tournament girls singles title on Thursday, beating Tia Burke of Zama American 6-3, 6-3 at Risner Tennis Complex.
“She (Amber) wanted to make sure I played my best and also try to win, so the Gadsdens would have a winning streak,” Chloe said. It was her second Far East tournament title; she won the girls doubles last year.
“What a mindset. She’s so strong-willed,” Panthers coach Juana Aguon said.
As is usually the case, Gadsden’s championship came out of season for Guam High; the island’s tennis season begins in January. But like her older sister, Gadsden’s been playing tennis since she was little and does it year-round on the Guam tournament circuit against adults.
The tide of the first set turned when Gadsden broke Burke’s serve in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead.
“I got a lot more inspired to try to do better, got hyper and realized that I could do this,” Gadsden said of the fourth game. Burke rallied to cut it to 5-3, but Gadsden used two drop shots to seal the ninth game and the set.
The sixth game of the deciding set saw a long rally in which the two battled, hammer and tongs, volleying at the net trying to gain the edge. Finally, Gadsden smacked a backhand winner, drawing a cheer from her teammates on the sideline.
Throughout the match, “I tried to be consistent, but I also realized that if I want it, I have to take a chance,” Gadsden said. She took three of the last four games to seal the match.
The defeat brought a heartbreaking end to the season for Burke, who had won the DODDS Japan tournament in late October at Yokota and the Kanto Plain tournament on Nov. 1 at Shirako Tennis Complex, Chiba Prefecture.
“I wasn’t being aggressive,” Burke said. “I was playing it safe. I made too many unforced errors. She moved me (around) a lot.”
Burke did not go home empty-handed. She and her sophomore sister, Natalie, won the girls doubles title in three sets against Kadena’s Erika Youngdahl and Kristin Howard.
Kent Shikama of St. Mary’s International repeated his boys singles title, while Seoul American’s Andrew Clark and Carson Allen won the mixed doubles.
Seoul American came away with the overall Division I team title, scoring 46 points to outdistance runner-up Yokota (40). Yokota and Kadena, with 22 points each, tied for the D-I girls title.
In the Division II standings, Zama’s girls won in a runaway, while Matthew C. Perry won the boys. Zama edged Yongsan International-Seoul for the overall team title.