Double Trouble

Khushi Patil and Caroline Lasley win 6A Girls Doubles Tennis Championship



Khushi Patil participates with partner Caroline Lasely in the 6A Doubles Tournament.

Khushi Patil and Caroline Lasley, undefeated throughout the season, won the 6A Girls Doubles Tennis Championship.

“State is probably the best competition we have each year, just because we have all the northwest schools,” Lasley said.

“This is the first time we’ve had a girls’ runner-up, or girls’ anything, in my tenure. When they announced that Central High was the girls’ runner-up, I may have screamed in joy,” said Coach Leandra Crook, who coaches both the girls’ and boys’ teams. 

“This is my seventh year coaching the tennis team. Caroline and Khushi come in and entirely change our program for the better. These two girls have really stepped up in leadership. They have worked with their teammates, showed them the ropes of how we do team things, taken on the leadership role of some of the teaching and player development,” Crook said.

The last set of the state tournament was a nail-biter, the teams trading points before Patil and Lasley scored the final point, winning 7-6.

“We mostly were like, ‘Keep this ball in’, because it got down to the point of where, it wasn’t gonna be who was going to hit a winner, it was going to be who’s gonna miss. We weren’t gonna be the first ones to miss,” said Lasley.

Patil was particularly proud of the history made at state. “I knew that winning state for Central would have been something nobody would have ever imagined for girls,” she said.

State has a lot of challenges, both mental and physical.

“When the other team has more people than our team does to root for them, that’s a little nerve wracking. Your mistakes become something that people cheer for,” Lasley said.

“The last set was something I wanted to do for the school to kind of like, make my mark here,” Patil said. 

The girls’ team won runner-up at state, with seven total points including the doubles victory, second only to Bentonville’s eleven points.

This is an improvement from last year’s third place finish for the girls, with five points.

“It’s the first time in over eleven years we’ve brought home a state trophy. For the girls’ team, that definitely made us feel a lot better about our team as a whole. It made us feel like we are the second best team in the conference,” Lasley said.

Patil explains the history of this win for girls’ tennis at the school. 

“The girl’s team has not really won much over the last decade or two, so we’ve just accomplished a lot for girls’ tennis this year,” Patil said.

Patil and Lasley have faced obstacles that have challenged their ability to play tennis.

“I’ve had three surgeries on my dominant arm for tennis, and I kind of lost hope that I would be able to play on a high level again,” Patil said.

Lasley’s challenges were less physical and more mental.

“I had a mental block when it came to tournaments, and I just wouldn’t play well at all. Winning conference last year and getting to the finals of state last year, that was just like, ‘Okay, you belong in the sport. You’re fully capable of competing.’”

Patil’s motivation to continue playing comes from her love for the sport. “I knew it was worth it to keep going. The lessons I learned from it teach me a lot of leadership skills and skills to help me with life, and also it’s kind of a safe space to… let all my emotions out,” said Patil.

Coach Crook spoke of the unique bond that this girls’ team has, saying she saw it at try-outs.

She spoke of a certain post-season party thrown at a team member’s house, where everyone was together. There were no cliques, no side-groups; just a true team.

“We all have different strengths, but we have to figure out how to work at it together,” said Crook.