Central Ohio High School Sports Awards: Super 12 girls tennis finalists announced

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Central Ohio High School Sports Awards

When the postseason arrived, the members of ThisWeek's Super 12 girls tennis team elevated their play.

All are now finalists to be named Captain – our girls tennis Athlete of the Year. That honor will be announced during the Central Ohio High School Sports Awards online show at 7 p.m. July 8.

Finalists in all 10 fall sports should register at sportsawards.usatoday.com/centralohio. The finalists for boys and girls golf were previously announced. Next week, we will announce the Super 12 for boys cross country.

Below is the Super 12 for girls tennis: 

Libby Alderman

Libby Alderman, Worthington Kilbourne

Alderman set the bar high in her freshman season. 

She competed at first singles and qualified for the Division I state tournament at Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, where she lost 6-3, 6-0 in the first round to Mayfield’s Hannah Kassaie. 

Alderman captured a sectional title with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Upper Arlington’s Isabella Roth and placed fourth at district to earn the final state-qualifying berth. 

Her play in the regular season helped Kilbourne finish second (6-1) in the OCC-Capital Division behind Big Walnut (7-0). 

"I think as she gets older and a little more mature as far as her on-court attitude and demeanor, she's going to get better and better," coach Steve Metzmaier said. "The way I look at it is, she wants it pretty bad to be very good."

Megan Basil

Megan Basil, Upper Arlington

Basil, a junior, won the Division I state doubles championship with senior Ella Hazelbaker and helped the Golden Bears to a runner-up finish in the Ohio Tennis Coaches Association state tournament.

Basil, who made her first state appearance, usually played second singles during the regular season. She and Hazelbaker went 12-0 in the postseason and swept Centerville’s Caroline Hinshaw and Clara Owen 7-6, 6-3 in the state final.

UA went 17-3 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Central, losing 3-2 to Mason in the OTCA state final.

“Megan and I have been friends outside of tennis for a while, so we’ve always worked really well together,” Hazelbaker said. “We tried to out-rally people, and then within the rally we like to poach and give each other a good setup.”

Alexis Burkhalter

Alexis Burkhalter, Wellington

The stamina this junior shows every time she’s on the court continues to impress coach Tommy Haddow, who took over the Wellington program this fall after previously leading Columbus Academy.

Burkhalter finished 17-7 at first singles and teamed with Katie Zerbi to place second in doubles at the Division II state tournament. The pair lost 6-2, 6-4 to Sarah Hall and Natalie Connell of Dayton Oakwood in the final.

Burkhalter beat eventual Division I doubles state-qualifier Caroline Sproule of Olentangy Orange in a regular-season match.

“Her heart rate never goes up, even after a long point,” Haddow said of Burkhalter, who finished fourth at state in doubles with Zerbi in 2019. “She had some really good wins. She has a great anticipation and really goes against the grain in her baseline pattern.”

Dasha Chistyakova

Dasha Chistyakova, Dublin Coffman

Chistyakova showed that she’d be a force in central Ohio as a freshman when she reached the quarterfinal round of the Division I district tournament.

This fall, the sophomore took another step by winning a sectional title and finishing third at district to advance to the state tournament.

Chistyakova lost 6-3, 6-1 to Perrysburg’s Sydney Onest in the first round at state to finish 18-9.

“She’s a year-round player and competes in tournaments in the offseason,” coach Brett Hundertpfund said. “I was impressed at how much she improved from last year. Dasha works hard in the offseason and that always pays off. It helped her get some of the big wins she had this past season and eventually got her to the state tournament.”

Ella Franz

Ella Franz, Olentangy Berlin

Franz became the first Berlin player to qualify for the state tournament and finished 22-3.

The junior beat Canfield’s Anna Kan 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round before losing to North Canton Hoover's Tess Bucher 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 in a Division I state quarterfinal.

Franz won a sectional title and defeated Olentangy Liberty’s Dani Schoenly 6-2, 0-6, 6-3 the following week to capture a district title.

“Ella has high expectations, but her determination sets her apart,” coach Richard Hunt said. “She wants to succeed, and she’s put in the work needed to be successful. She put in the offseason work and kept improving during the season.”

Franz was OCC-Cardinal Player of the Year as the Bears finished 11-6 overall and 3-2 in the league.

Ella Hazelbaker

Ella Hazelbaker, Upper Arlington

The senior played first singles in dual matches for the Golden Bears and won the Division I state doubles championship with Basil.

It was the seventh doubles title in program history and the first since sisters Olivia and Paige Kompa won state in 2015. Hazelbaker and Basil did not drop a set in 12 postseason matches.

Hazelbaker also made state in doubles her freshman and junior years but was 1-2 in the tournament before this season. She and classmate Noah Mizer fell one victory shy of a state appearance as sophomores.

“I love having her as my partner, because I feel like we know each other really well and know each other’s games really well,” Basil said. “I like being at the net, and she’d play back. We just worked really well together.”

Noah Mizer

Noah Mizer, Upper Arlington

Mizer, a senior, teamed with sophomore Ava Richard to finish third in doubles at state in her second appearance. The UA duo defeated Rocky River Magnificat’s Caroline Moritz and Natalie Smitek 6-2, 6-0 after losing in a semifinal.

Mizer and Richard, who played first doubles during the regular season and in OTCA matches, went 9-3 in the postseason and also finished third at sectional and district. Mizer – whose younger sister, sophomore Ellis Mizer, also was in the varsity lineup all season – was a district runner-up with Hazelbaker as a freshman before losing in the first round at state.

“We always felt like when we were on, we could play with anyone,” Richard said. “Noah is great with groundstrokes, but she kills it at the net, too. She’s a great net player. I learned a lot this year and I hope (this season’s experiences) set me up to do well in future years.”

Sydni Ratliff

Sydni Ratliff, Columbus Academy

This senior reached her fourth consecutive Division II state singles final, losing 7-6, 7-5 to Eaton's Macy Hitchcock. 

She also helped Academy qualify for its fourth consecutive OTCA Division II state tournament, where the Vikings finished second with a 3-2 loss to Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown. 

Ratliff, an Ohio State commit, won the program’s first state singles title in 2019 after finishing second in 2017 and 2018. 

She was named ThisWeek’s Athlete of the Year in girls tennis for the 2019 season. 

“Sydni was a great asset to the Columbus Academy tennis program since seventh grade,” coach Marc Wurtzman said. “She always put 100 percent effort into her practices and matches, which helped lead Academy to four straight state (tournament) appearances and two team state finals.” 

Ava Richard

Ava Richard, Upper Arlington

Richard, a sophomore, capped her season with third-place finishes in doubles in the sectional, district and state tournaments. It was her first state appearance.

Richard was a mainstay in the lineup as UA went 17-3 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Central, winning its fifth consecutive league championship and 31st in 32 seasons. One of the postseason losses for Mizer and Richard was to Basil and Hazelbaker in a district semifinal.

Mizer and Richard also were a doubles team last year.

“We strategized well and worked together,” Mizer said. “I love my groundstrokes, and (Richard) likes to be at the net more. This year for the two of us was special. Last year, we had a tough draw and couldn’t get out of (the) sectional. We looked forward to this chance all year.”

Dani Schoenly

Dani Schoenly, Olentangy Liberty

After winning Division I state doubles titles with Maddie Atway in 2017 and 2018, Schoenly was one of the state’s top singles players the last two years.

The senior reached a state quarterfinal in 2019 and did so again this fall after falling just short of a district title. She lost 6-2, 0-6, 6-3 to Franz in the district final and then beat Cincinnati Walnut Hills’ Alexis Covington 7-6, 6-0 in the first round at state.

In a state quarterfinal, the Ohio State recruit lost 6-3, 6-1 to Lilly Black of Whitehouse Anthony Wayne to finish 23-7.

“The big thing is she put in the work and she managed her time really well,” coach Will Thieman said. “The biggest thing for her as a big-time athlete is she really knows what she’s doing on the court and that’s her biggest strength.”

Caroline Sproule

Caroline Sproule, Olentangy Orange

Sproule, a senior, finished 15-5 while playing first singles before teaming up with junior Tyler Reed to play doubles during the Division I postseason.

The pair advanced to state, where they lost 7-5, 6-4 to Centerville’s Hinshaw and Owen in the first round.

The duo finished second at the district and sectional tournaments, falling in both to eventual state champions Basil and Hazelbaker.

“Caroline was able to hit a bigger backhand this year,” coach Susan Storrer said. “She has a big serve and big groundstrokes. She also had fewer injuries, which had been a problem in the past.”

Sproule was second-team all-league as the Pioneers finished 9-9 overall and 2-3 in the OCC-Central.

Katie Zerbi

Katie Zerbi, Wellington

This sophomore has made it to the second day of the Division II state tournament twice with Burkhalter.

Zerbi and Burkhalter finished fourth at state in doubles last season when Zerbi went 22-6.

This fall, Zerbi and Burkhalter won sectional and district titles before losing 6-2, 6-4 in the state championship match to Oakwood’s Hall and Connell. Zerbi went 18-5.

“Her and Alexis listen to everything we told them all the way through the district, and we put them in the best spot they could be at,” Haddow said. “Katie’s got a big forehand and her returns are flawless. If she has a bad point, she’s only worried about the next one. Katie’s got a great serve.”

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