When Hope Rhoades was growing up, she watched both of her brothers earn conference championships at No. 1 singles for Holland Christian.
It is a tough legacy to follow, and one that Rhoades did not in her first year at No. 1 singles.
Now a senior in her second year, Rhoades put together a stellar OK Blue Conference tournament and claimed the No. 1 singles championship.
“It feels really good to (join my brothers Christian and Ryan). I have always looked up to them. I was always their little sister, but now it was Hope, not the little sister winning. My brother Ryan was here and he is a conference champion, so it was cool looking up at him and (getting that confidence from him),” Rhoades said. “Last year was a struggle and a shock for me. But it was kind of my warmup year. I wanted the title really badly and I worked really hard. That was a milestone for me heading into college tennis.”
Rhoades defeated Coopersville’s Susi Uldanah 6-3, 6-3 in the No. 1 singles final.
“It was really hot, so I did my best to run her around the court as much as I could,” Rhoades said.
Rhoades committed to play at Hope College next year. Her brother Christian played there.
“I decided elementary education was for me. I love the small school. I am a homebody and close to my family,” Rhoades said. “I am so comfortable there. I am really excited.”
Holland Christian won the tournament with 14 points. West Catholic and Spring Lake each scored 11, followed by Fruitport with eight, Hamilton and Unity Christian with five and Coopersville with two.
Combined with the overall season records, the Maroons claimed the outright title ahead of Spring Lake. Hamilton finished fifth.
The Maroons have won both OK Blue titles since moving from the Green.
“This means a lot. I am so proud of how well out team played,” said Eva VanKlompenberg. “Our team does a really good job of cheering each other on. We are like a family. We try to help give the players on court hte energy they need. This was a pretty big (performance) heading into regionals.”
The Maroons had three more flight champions, including one more in singles.
At No. 3 singles, VanKlompenberg earned the flight championship, defeating Fruitport’s Rachel Hines 6-4, 6-2 in the title match.
“I just tried to keep her moving and tire her our,” VanKlompenberg said. “It started getting close in the first set (4-3) and I just started playing my own game. I started playing with confidence but didn’t play with overconfidence.”
Holland Christian’s Bria Lampen made the finals at No. 1 singles with a 6-1, 6-4 win in the semfinals but lost 6-1, 6-2 to Fruitport in the final.
In doubles, Holland Christian’s Larissa Bol-Esmay Klingenberg defeated West Catholic 6-3, 6-0 in the finals.
The Maroons also got a win from No. 4 doubles as Abi Kraal-Nicole Genzink defeated Spring Lake 6-4, 6-4 in the finals.
Holland Christian’s Ainsley VandenBrink-Lilly DeVries advanced to the finals before losing 6-3, 6-2 to West Catholic.
At No. 2 doubles, Holland Christian’s Kayla VandenBerg-Monika Diaz made the finals before falling to West Catholic 6-0, 6-2 in the final.
Holland Christian’s Jenna Grotenhuis took fourth at No. 4 singles.
Hamilton’s Racquelle Burdick-Sydnay Wedeven took third place at No. 2 doubles.