The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 2, 2013

Dick, Dillingham doubling their fun

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Kathryn Dillingham and Alex Dick will be trying to fulfill the one thing missing from their Enid High tennis legacies today and Saturday at the Class 6A championships at the Oklahoma City Tennis Center.

Dillingham (No. 1 doubles with Mackenzie Zaloudek, 2010) and Dick (No. 2 doubles with Macy Zaloudek, 2011) both have won an individual state championship, but are looking to lead EHS to its first state title since 2001.

“It would be a great way to go out,’’ said Dillingham, who has a 120-20 career record in doubles.

“It would mean a lot,’’ said Dick, who has a 119-14 career doubles record. “That would be a great experience to end all of our years in tennis.’’

Dick and Dillingham, 33-3, had a 23-match winning streak ended by Southmoore’s Jordan Henry and Kelly Klingler 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the regional finals Monday. They have a 6-4, 2-6, 11-9 loss to probable No. 1 seed Piper Huey and McKinleigh Lair of Jenks. The EHS duo is projected as the No. 3 seed.

“The pressure is on them instead of us,’’ Dillingham said of the two teams ahead of us. “If they (Henry and Klingler) had to upset us, I’m glad it was at regionals and not state.’’

“We know that we can do it,’’ Dick said. “We know what we have to do to win.’’

Dick and Dillingham have been the undisputed team since Mackenzie Zaloudek’s graduation two years ago.

“It’s their team,’’ said Acers coach Darrell Herndon.

Both learned from Zaloudek.

“I’ve learned a lot from her on and off the court,’’ Dillingham said. “She taught us everything about being a good role model and keeping everyone motivated and positive.’’

“She was so good about supporting others,’’ Dick said.

Dick and Dillingham didn’t play full-time together as a team until this year, but virtually grew up together on tennis courts.

“We wanted to finish it off together as seniors and have fun with each other,’’ Dick said. “Chemistry is really important. After I miss a shot or double fault, Kathryn does a really good job of covering me. She says forget and move on.’’

Dick was second at No. 1 doubles with sister Gabrielle last year. Gabrielle, a sophomore, is playing No. 2 singles this year.

“My sister is more of a singles player,’’ said Alex Dick. “She doesn’t always know what to say. I had played doubles with Kathryn in Missouri Valley and we already had an idea of how it would be.’’

That both have won championships before takes some pressure off this year.

“We have both had great careers,’’ Dillingham said. “We’re just trying to go out and have fun.’’

Dillingham said it “was very exciting’’ when she won No. 1 doubles with Zaloudek as a rookie.

“I didn’t know what was going on, I was pretty overwhelmed,’’ she said. “Mackenzie pretty much steered me in the right direction, telling me what to do and how it works.’’

Dick remembered the pressure of being the No. 1 seed with Macy Zaloudek.

“It’s nice not having that much pressure on us,’’ she said.

Both attributed their success to good coaching and community and family support.

The state tournament will be the final competition for both players. Neither will play in college. Dick is going to the University of Oklahoma, while Dillingham will go to Southern Methodist University.

Both still hope to play on an intramural or club basis.

“I going to miss it,’’ Dick said. “It’s going to be a lot different not going to practice every day. It’s going to be something new.’’

“It will be a change for sure,’’ Dillingham said. “You just have to get the academics down first.’’

Both are honor students and credited teachers helping them for their academic success.

“It was hard and stressful,’’ Dick said, “but the teachers were really good about dealing with us.’’

Both find it hard to believe this weekend is the conclusion of their four-year careers.

“It’s going to be really weird this being our last one,’’ Dick said.

“It’s hard to believe it’s already here,’’ Dillingham said, “but we’re ready for it.’’

Other three divisions strong

Alexis Blasi, 21-14, is seen as the No. 6 seed in deep No. 1 singles field, which includes defending champion Madison Westby of Tulsa Kelley.

Blasi has four losses to Ann Pepper of Edmond North and  three to  Courtney Coon of Broken Arrow.

Gabrielle Dick, 30-5, is projected as the No. 2 seed in No. 2 singles to Jenks’ Jenny Bond. Dick and Bond have split a pair of three-set matches. Dick has won 10 straight matches.

The No. 2 doubles team of Savannah Blasi and Lulu Ruding, 15-1, could be seeded as high as No. 2 and as low as No. 5. Their lone loss was to Jenks’ Burke and Shannon Decker, 6-3, 7-5 in the Tournament of Champions finals.

“A lot of things have to happen,’’ Herndon said, “but it’s all in our hands. As long as we play well and do what we’re capable of, we should be in the thick of it

First-round 6A singles matches will begin at 12:30 p.m. today. Doubles are scheduled to start at 1 p.m. Quarterfinal singles will begin at 4:30 p.m. with doubles scheduled to start at 3:45 p.m.