Omaha Marian senior Katherine Nelsen set her feet and drilled a forehand winner into the back-left corner of the show court Friday at Koch Tennis Center to claim the Class A team and No. 1 singles titles.
A subtle fist-pump revealed her satisfaction. Even with an estimated 400 in attendance, she didn't need a wild, extravagant celebration — she'd been there before.
Nelsen capped her high school career by defending her singles title and returning the Crusaders to the top of Class A tennis with the team title — the third of her career and Marian's fifth in six years.
“I couldn't have asked for a better way to end my senior year,” said Nelsen, who will play next year at Creighton. “One thing that really mattered to me was winning as a team.
“And individually, it feels really nice to get back-to-back (state titles) and beat a really tough player in the finals.”
Nelsen (22-0) pulled out a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 win over second-seeded Omaha Westside sophomore Sydney Harlow. Finishing off the third set was an unfamiliar challenge for Nelsen, who had not lost a set all year.
“Splitting sets was definitely difficult to stay focused in the third set — especially when you win the first set and lose the second,” Nelsen said. “It's hard to get motivation.”
Nelsen's win gave Marian 50 points, while the 2012 champion, Westside, finished second with 42.
The Crusaders also picked up the No. 1 doubles title as sophomore Julia Tatten and junior Courtney Warren bested the No. 2 seed, Westside sisters Lizzie and McKinney Harwood, 6-4, 6-4.
Both members of the top-seeded Crusaders duo (21-1) lost in three-set finals last year — Tatten at No. 2 singles and Warren at No. 1 doubles. Their setbacks a year ago served as motivation to finish on top this season.
“Since we stepped off the court last year, this has been the goal,” Tatten said.
Warren added: “All summer, we were working and said, 'This is for the state championship this year. We're going to take it.' ”
In the midst of smiles, hugs and high-fives, Marian coach John Waters acknowledged that his team could've easily lost. But he's sure glad they didn't.
“This is befitting for them, because they've competed well week in, week out,” Waters said of his team, which also won the Westside Invite, Fremont Invite and Metro Tournament. “It's a great accomplishment. I'm so happy for them.”
Team scoring: Omaha Marian 50, Omaha Westside 42, Lincoln East 36.5, Lincoln Southwest 33, Lincoln Southeast 28, Millard North 22.5, Millard West 22, Omaha Central 17, Papillion-La Vista 16, Grand Island 14, Kearney 14, Lincoln High 10, Omaha Burke 10, Columbus 8, Norfolk 8, Bellevue East 6, Bellevue West 6, Lincoln Northeast 6, Omaha North 6, Fremont 4, Lincoln North Star 4, Omaha Benson 4, Omaha Northwest 4, Papillion-La Vista South 4, Millard South 0, Omaha Bryan 0, Omaha South 0, Omaha Roncalli/Omaha Mercy 0.
Individual results: No. 1 singles: Semifinals: Katherine Nelsen, OM, def. Giselle Tran, OC, 6-3, 6-3. Sydney Harlow, OW, def. Kaley Clark, LE, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. Finals: Nelsen def. Harlow 6-3, 4-6, 6-2. Third place: Tran def. Clark 6-3, 6-0. No. 2 singles: Semifinals: Jenna Krager, MW, def. Elizabeth Rentfro, LE, 6-4, 6-2. Olivia Miller, LSE, def. Kate Slosburg, OW, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. Finals: Krager def. Miller 6-4, 5-7, 6-1. Third place: Rentfro def. Slosburg 6-3, 6-1. No. 1 doubles: Semifinals: Julia Tatten and Courtney Warren, OM, def. Lauren Works and Sarah Hove, LSW, 6-0, 6-1. Lizzie Harwood and McKinney Harwood, OW, def. Danielle Kostal and Hannah Everett, LSE, 6-0, 6-0. Finals: Tatten and Warren def. Harwood and Harwood 6-4, 6-4. Third place: Works and Hove def. Kostal and Everett 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. No. 2 doubles: Semifinals: Anna Tussing and Ashlyn Saeger, LSW, def. Christina Ternent and Alexandra Baxter, MN, 7-5, 6-1. Alexandra Jensen and Kaitlin Roselius, LE, def. Anna Bartolomei and Clare Crockett, OM, 7-6 (3), 7-5. Finals: Jensen and Roselius def. Tussing and Saeger 6-1, 6-4. Third place: Ternent and Baxter def Bartolomei and Crockett 7-5, 6-0.
Notes: At No. 2 singles, fifth-seeded Millard West junior Jenna Krager, knocked off Lincoln Southeast freshman Olivia Miller, the No. 2 seed, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1. … Lincoln East's second-seeded duo of Alexandra Jensen and Kaitlin Roselius claimed the No. 2 doubles crown with a 6-1, 6-4 victory against the No. 5 seed, Lincoln Southwest sophomores Anna Tussing and Ashlyn Saeger. … Despite the eight-point margin, Marian ended up needing both the No. 1 singles and doubles titles to win it all. Should the Crusaders have split those titles with Westside, the Warriors would have won the tiebreaker — best sets-won percentage — and the team title. … Nelsen's win at No. 1 singles is the sixth straight by a Marian player. Brooke Urzendowski won four in a row before Nelsen's two-year reign.