Wellington High School sophomore Scarlett Stephens began the current high school tennis season as a member of her school’s varsity tennis team. Now, she represents the entire team as the only member of the squad still playing for the Wolverines in the state tennis tournament.
On Tuesday, April 11, Stephens earned a trip to this year’s Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 4A state tennis tournament when she won the local district title by defeating Jupiter High School’s Gabriella Michels (6-3, 6-3). That district final match was played at Palm Beach Central High School.
According to Stephens, one of the keys to her success in the match against Michels was being able to effectively adapt to the weather.
“I felt that I adjusted well to the conditions, as it was quite windy,” said Stephens, who just turned 16. “I didn’t commit any double faults the entire match.”
This will be Stephens’ second-straight trip to the FHSAA’s Class 4A state tennis tournament. Stephens, who was an all-area first-team selection last year, will be joined by 15 other district champions at the Class 4A state tournament.
This year’s Class 4A tennis finals will be held at Sanlando Park near Orlando on April 26-27. To become the Class 4A girls state singles champion, Stephens will need to win four matches in two days.
To succeed, Stephens will focus on enjoying the experience and executing basic fundamentals.
“I need to appreciate every moment of each match,” said Stephens, who plays with a Wilson Ultra racquet. “On the court, I need to relax and make sure I don’t rush my shots. I also must work on keeping my feet moving during every point.”
Stephens also indicated that she plans to bring a small chair so she can sit down and rest when she is changing sides of the court after every other game.
This is the fifth time that somebody in Stephens’ family has won a district tennis title in Palm Beach County — all while playing for Wellington High School. In addition to Stephens’ success at the district tournament this year, she won both district singles and doubles last year.
In 2000, Stephens’ father, Luke, won the district and team district titles. In 1997, Luke was part of a district team title at WHS. And, in 1991, Paul Stephens, Scarlett’s uncle, won a district singles title when he played for the Wolverines.