Starck wins third straight state tennis title
If there’s a way to describe Walworth Big Foot/Williams Bay tennis star Caroline Starck, that would be it.
There’s no yelling, no grunting after every shot, no demonstrative acts to the officials and no celebration other than the occasional light pump of the fist.
Heck, after she defeated Jefferson’s Beth Ganser, 6-0, 6-1, here Saturday at the University of Wisconsin’s Nielsen Tennis Stadium, Starck smiled lightly, courteously shook Ganser’s hand and looked as much like someone who had fortuitously stumbled upon a quarter on the sidewalk as someone who had just won her third straight WIAA Division 2 singles championship.
It’s not that she wasn’t excited. It’s just part of her humble demeanor.
“I can’t believe that I’m already a senior and this is my last time at the individual state tournament,” said Starck, who went to 36-0 for the season. “But I feel really accomplished. I think I worked really hard, and it’s always been a goal (to win three in a row), so it feels good to finally reach it.”
Big Foot/Williams Bay coach Jim Karedes, whose team will compete at team state next weekend, affirmed Starck’s attitude.
“The intangibles that she (brings are) what I’ll remember about her most,” he said. “Yeah, she’s got three state championships. Take all that aside, I want her as a person. Her as a person, the work ethic that she has, the character that she has—that’s what I want.”
Starck, who attends school at Williams Bay and came in as the top seed in the Division 2 draw, admitted she was nervous—yeah, she’s human—before the championship match against the second-seeded Ganser in the duo’s second consecutive state title bout.
It certainly didn’t show, as Starck dominated from the opening point.
She faced just one deuce in the match, scored 50 points to Ganser’s 20 and went a perfect 7-for-7 on break points.
Starck’s only hiccup came when she was leading 5-0 in the second set. She double-faulted once and had her serve broken by Ganser but quickly recovered by holding Ganser at love in the match’s final game.
Ganser had a remarkable high school career herself, going 27-4 this season, but was always playing Andy Roddick to Starck’s Roger Federer. Starck went 4-0 against Ganser this season and 13-0 in their high school careers, including two straight state title matches and this year’s Whitewater sectional final.
“Oh, definitely,” Starck said when asked if she and Ganser possessed a mutual respect. “She’s a good competitor, and we always have (good) matches. I think we respect each other.”
Starck, who dropped just three games in her state tournament run Friday and Saturday, probably labored more in her semifinal match Saturday against Kenosha St. Joseph’s Amanda Dick. Still, Starck cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 victory.
“I think that Amanda Dick is a tough player,” Starck said. “She gets to everything, probably more than any girl I’ve played this season. She runs down everything. She fights really hard, so it’s hard to put away a shot.”
In the end, Starck’s individual numbers over her high school career are staggering.
She goes into the state team meet with a 138-6 four-year mark, including 71-1 the last two seasons. In the process, she became just the sixth player in the history of the WIAA state meet to win three or more career titles.
Yet through all of that, Karedes said Starck is probably more concerned about how her team will fare next weekend than over how she fared this weekend.
That’s just the kind of player and teammate she’s been.
“She comes along once in a lifetime,” Karedes said.
And that’s probably a good thing for everyone else in the Division 2 field.
wins Division 1 title
Top-seeded Mequon Homestead freshman Aly Coran completed a 36-0 season with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over second-seeded Waukesha South sophomore Katy Allen (35-1) to win the Division 1 state title.
In Division 1 doubles, seniors Lauren Gryniewicz and Scarlett Hoy (23-3), seeded third, held off Mequon Homestead’s fourth-seeded team of Jennifer Smith and Brittany Watchmaker (26-0), 5-7, 6-4 (7-4), 6-3 in the title match.
In Division 2 doubles, Manitowoc Roncalli’s top-seeded juniors Elissa Halla and Natalie Foster (23-2) claimed the championship with a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Green Bay Notre Dame’s Catherine Faller and Katie Pott (26-3).