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High school girls tennis: Oklahoma Christian School's Mary Streller making most of shorter schedule

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Streller
Streller

EDMOND – It didn’t take long for the racket to feel normal in Mary Streller’s grasp.

The junior at Oklahoma Christian School doesn’t play in as many tennis tournaments as the rest of her teammates because of her club volleyball schedule. There’s a long period of time in the tennis offseason where she doesn’t practice serves or return volleys. Yet the past two seasons when she steps onto the tennis court, Streller is dominant.

Streller captured the No. 1 singles title in Class 4A last season. After a dominant regional victory this season, her first win of the year, Streller is looking to defend her title.

“Getting back into tennis was difficult for me at the beginning of the season,” Streller said. “I didn’t win a tournament this year until regionals. I’m excited to compete.”

Because Streller has not played in many matches this season, she said she will likely draw a three or four seed in the state tournament.

That’s where she was last year when she won.

Streller played tennis and volleyball when she was younger but stopped playing tennis for a couple years because of injuries like stress fractures and tennis elbow. After a three-year hiatus, she picked back up last year and took some time to get going.

Similar to this season, she captured her first victory at regionals. At state, she rolled to a No. 1 singles title.

Streller contemplated dropping tennis for good more than once last season. But she stuck with it and continued gaining her form back.

It paid off.

OCS tennis coach Carlos Rodriguez said Streller’s ability to knock the rust off her game and return to form so quickly is unparalleled.

“If you aren’t hitting consistently, it’s tough,” Rodriguez said. “I honestly don’t know how she does it. She keeps that competitiveness with her. It’s that never-giving-up attitude that keeps her ahead of everybody else.”

Even when she isn’t with the team, that doesn’t hinder Streller’s leadership.

OCS has a plethora of freshmen on its roster, and many of them qualified for the state tournament. The common thread for their motivation and success this season is Streller.

Rodriguez said she’s the captain and role model for the team. The younger girls see the work ethic she puts in, and in turn it helps grow the level of tennis OCS is playing.

Streller said last year, she was uncomfortable for the majority of the state tournament. That uneasiness is gone, and she’s hoping to build upon last season’s success this weekend.

“There’s nothing to be nervous about,” Streller said. “I’m trying to stay confident and not cocky.”

Cameron Jourdan

Cameron Jourdan joined The Oklahoman in March 2019 to cover high school sports. He graduated from Oklahoma State University in May 2018. He had an internships with The Oklahoman and Stillwater News Press. During his time at OSU, Cameron served in... Read more ›

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