The temperature had dropped to the low 40s, the lights were getting dim and all of the other matches had been completed, but Austin senior Chloe Schmitt wasn’t ready to go home yet.
Although the Packers lost to Northfield 4-3 in the regular season final at Paulson Courts Friday, Schmitt made her final Big Nine match of her tennis career one of her best ones yet.
Schmitt survived a grudge match when she edged out Caroline Ash of the Northfield (8-2 overall, 8-2 Big Nine) at No. 2 singles. Schmitt was dropping back-line shots and hitting her serves while blocking out the warm-up music that was blasting for the boys soccer game in nearby Art Hass Stadium.
“The cold isn’t really a problem after you play a couple of games because you have to keep sprinting and then you get hot,” Schmitt said. “Avoiding distractions is really something I’ve been working on. It’s hard to not be distracted by the road noise, the music in the background and the people watching. What I do is I take a deep breath and I focus on the point.”
Schmitt has helped lead the Packers (5-5 overall, 5-5 Big Nine) to their best record in a decade as they are the first Packer team to win more than three matches since 2011. She’s glad to be part of Packer resurgence, but Schmitt is also surprised that her time with the tennis program is winding down.
“It’s really crazy. It does not feel like my last one. But it’s exciting that I got to win. This was going to be my last, but it was a lot of fun,” Schmitt said.
Chloe’s younger sister Reana also scored a win at No. 1 singles as she beat Libby Brust 6-1, 6-4. Reana was able to sit back and watch Chloe close out her Big Nine career in style.
“It was really heartwarming to see my sister go out and play like she’s been working for her whole life,” Reana said. “Our confidence is pretty high. Our coaches and teammates hype us up and we like to go out there and show our best. We’ve accomplished a lot of things and we’ve come together as a team real well.”
The Packers will open Section 1A Tournament team play next week.
No. 1 Reana Schmitt (A) def. Libby Brust (N) 6-1 , 6-4
No. 2 Chloe Schmitt (A) def. Caroline Ash (N) 7-6 (3), 4-6 , 6-2
No. 3 Marie Labenski (N) def. Gracie Schmitt (A) 7-5 , 6-3
No. 4 Kaitlin Meiergerd (A) def. Izzy Balvin (N), 6-4 , 7-5
No. 1 Courtney Graff and Gabbi Grant (N) def. Madison Hogan and Lauren Wernimont (A) 6-2 , 6-0
No. 2 Annika Richardson and Solvei Christopherson (N) def. Siri Ansorge and Samantha Krueger (A) 6-2 , 6-0
No. 3 Jenna Woitalla and Lynnette Ott (N) def. Natalie Haynes and Jadyn Moriarty (A) 6-4 , 0-6 , 6-2