Junior Taylor Shortly and sophomore Chase Shortly of Forest Lake competed at the Class AA state tennis tournament last Thursday in front of Ranger friends and family at the Baseline Tennis Center at the University of Minnesota.
The sisters advanced past the first round by defeating Leah Wurm and Sam Eisenreich of St. Cloud Tech 6-1, 6-4 on Thursday morning.
The Forest Lake pair then faced Katherine and Jessica Aney of Rochester Century in the quarterfinals. The Shortlys struggled to avoid the 4’11” tennis phenom, Jessica, and lost the first set 6-1.
Forest Lake came back stronger in the second set, but were unable to hold off the Panthers, losing 6-2.
“The girls played very well in the second round,” head coach Violet Shortly said. “It came down to Jessica Aney being too tough. She is an incredible player.”
The Aneys went on to claim the state champion title in doubles on Friday. Jessica, a ninth-grader, now has two state titles under her belt after having won the Class AA state singles championship last year. Aney is also known for being named the Sports Illustrated 2010 SportsKid of the year.
The Shortlys entered the tournament after earning the No. 2 seed in Section 7AA. Shortly said she felt a variety of emotions heading into the tournament as both a coach and mother.
“I was both excited and scared for them, knowing they can both hate and love each other in one breath,” Shortly said. “They really did evolve as players, but more importantly, as sisters.”
Another unique aspect of the state tournament for the Shortlys was the large amount of fans and teammates in comparison to the other competitors.
“I was reminded of just how great our program and community is,” Shortly said. “We may have had two players playing at state, but we had a team going to state. We had the biggest support from teammates, other parents and even other grandparents. On many occasions I was told from other coaches and players how great it was to see the support from Forest Lake.”