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Saturday, June 15, 2024 at 1:20 PM

BREAK POINT

BREAK POINT

Michna wins second state tennis title

SAN ANTONIO — Not even heat and humidity could stop Taylor High School sophomore Rylee Michna from winning her second consecutive UIL state tennis championship.

The tournament, held at the Annemarie Tennis Center Thursday, May 16 and Friday, May 17, included a secondround matchup that tested the reigning champ’s willpower.

“That was one of the grittiest performances I’ve seen,” Coach Kevin Williams said.

Michna’s entire body began to cramp due to the afternoon’s

MICHNA • page 2 weather to a point where she needed a medical timeout in the middle of the second set of the state semifinal round.

Taylor High School tennis sophomore Rylee Michna won her second consecu-See tive state title Friday, May 17, at the Annemarie Tennis Center in San Antonio.

Williams said Michna struggled to move even after the timeout, but finished the set and match without dropping a game.

“To watch her go from struggling to even stand to finishing the match was impressive,” Williams said. “Probably 75 to 80% of kids facing the adversity she was facing that match would have pulled out.”

Michna made an adjustment due to her pain that involved choosing a different swing approach instead of hitting with her full body’s force, the player said.

She bested Amanni Karera from Stafford in the 6-3, 6-0 second round match Thursday, May 16. Earlier, Michna opened the state tournament with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Lauren Brooks from Canyon High School.

Her opponent in Friday’s championship match was Aracely Salinas out of Corpus Christi West Oso High School. Michna won both sets in 6-2 fashion.

Michna said she played a trick on herself to close out the championship round.

She was up 5-2 in the second set and needed just one more game win to earn another state title during the final day of the tournament. But she didn’t let herself believe that.

Instead, the reigning champion told herself it was a 4-2 score so that there was less internal pressure on her serves.

“You have to stay calm when you’re playing because you don’t want to give a match away, especially when you’re up at the time,” Michna said. “It just helped me stay more calm and put together. I felt so relieved I was able to finish.”

Williams said he could not be prouder of Michna and her performance. He said while last year’s success was impressive since she was a freshman, earning a state championship this year was a tougher feat.

He added that Michna possesses a high maturity level, which helped her deal with the pressures that came with being the defending state champion.

According to Williams, Michna regularly practices more hours than what the tennis team requires of her.

“You can always get better,” Michna said. “You can never count on yourself to win without putting in hard work. Hard work will always beat anyone’s talents when people don’t work hard.”

Despite the tennis season ending, Michna has a busy summer ahead of her on the court. She will play in an out-of-school tournament next weekend.

The tennis player said her recruitment summer starts June 15, so she will stay busy in an effort to build her ranking for colleges looking at her as a prospect.

“I don’t know where I want to go or anything, it’s still up for debate,” Michna said. “I just want to become a better player for myself.”

Taylor High School tennis player Rylee Michna concentrates on returning a tennis ball during a UIL 4A state tennis tournament matchup in San Antonio. Photo by Kerry Barboza

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