OTHELLO — Taking on life’s challenges is what develops that personal character that stays with you a lifetime.
Othello senior Zoee Roylance and her partner Kylee Hawley won the CWAC District 5-6 doubles championship last year to earn a berth in the 2A state tennis championships. With Hawley’s graduation, Roylance stood at a turning point.
She could have teamed with either Tanaya Andersen or Katie Walker to form one of the most dominant doubles teams in the Central Washington Athletic Conference for a second straight season or go it alone and make the Huskies overall team strength better at both No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles.
“She wanted to prove to herself that she could make it to state in singles, having already done it in doubles,” said Othello girls coach Robert Pruneda. “It’s not easy switching back and forth between singles and doubles, but she could do it because she’s a tennis player and she works hard.”
Roylance (15-1) went undefeated at singles through the first 15 matches of the regular season before losing her first and only match to Mary-Frances Ballew of Selah. The two will play again on Saturday for the District 5-6 championship. Both have already qualified for the 2A state tennis championships May 26-27 at the Nordstrom Tennis Center in Seattle, so Saturday’s match is for pride and a little better seeding at the next level.
“I’m just going to go in and leave it all on the court,” said Roylance, who will continue her education at Brigham Young University-Idaho next fall. “I beat her in non-league and she beat me in league. The one thing I learned from going to state last year is to play with confidence and believe in yourself. A lot of times, that’s the difference when you’re playing against East Valley or Selah.”
Roylance is a four-year varsity player. She played singles both as a freshman and sophomore. After a season at doubles, she’s back to playing singles again and facing the challenges of some of the best players in the state.
“I’ve been getting stronger throughout the season,” she said. “I’ve been working on my second serve to get it stronger. I’ve also been trying to improve my first serve, faster with more topspin. I’ve been working on a lot of the little things that make a difference when you’re playing against stronger competition.”
The Othello girls won the regular season team title for the third straight year and a lot of that goes toward the desire to represent the town and school with the same pride as Huskies wrestling and softball.
“We really want to play well for our school. Othello tennis tradition picking up. I wouldn’t say it’s as recognized as wrestling or softball, but we have accomplished a lot,” she said.
Her goal at the beginning of the season was to win a district championship, and earn first-team all-league honors. She has some work to do to achieve the first part of that goal, but she’s never one to back down from a challenge.
High school tennis has been a good run for Roylance and she’s not done yet.
“I just play for the love of the sport,” she said. “All the girls are good friends I’ve known from playing volleyball.”
The CWAC District 5-6 championship matches start at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday at Ephrata High School.