CHARLESTON - It isn't everyday an individual gets a shot at making history.
Ripley High sophomore Arin Shatto did just that on Saturday in Charleston at the West Virginia High School State Tennis Tournament.
Shatto became the first player in the school's tennis program (girls or boys) to compete for a state title.
And even though she lost in her championship match, it was a proud moment for all blue and white athletic followers.
"She played extremely well," said an elated head coach Greg Varney. "All of her games were extremely close. She just couldn't get the points when she needed them."
In her No. 4 singles championship showdown, Shatto fell to Meghan Zerkel of University High in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2.
"You're talking about someone who had made it to the semifinals two straight years in No. 2 singles," said Varney of Shatto's opponent.
Zerkel played at No. 4 this season after suffering a knee injury in soccer this past fall.
Shatto reached the title match following a 6-3, 6-2 win over Dori Sanders of Washington High on Friday.
The win by Shatto coupled with an opening round victory by No. 1 singles player Emily Munson gave the Lady Vikings two points on the Class AAA girls scoreboard for the tournament.
Munson, a senior who will continue playing for Slippery Rock, a NCAA Division II program in Pennsylvania, won her opening round match against Washington's Jill Spuria, 8-3, before bowing out against Parkersburg's Cassandra Powell. Later in the tournament, Powell was beaten in the semifinals by eventual champion Cassie Mercer, a Huntington High junior who has already committed to the University of Virginia.
Besides Shatto and Munson, Ripley was well-represented at the three-day State Tournament.
Kaitlyn Whyte played at No. 2 singles while Brooke King competed in No. 3 singles. Whyte was sidelined by Alyssa Rees of University and King was eliminated by Parkersburg's Sheridan White.
Ripley also had a pair of doubles teams reach Charleston. Munson and Whyte played at No. 1 and lost to Martinsburg's Emily Widmeyer and Molly Beck. Shatto and Tyler Barickman were at No. 2 doubles and fell in their opening round match to Parkersburg's Katie Stanley and Katherine Gnegy.
"I felt our doubles teams played well," said Varney.
Shatto's championship game appearance along with several others qualifying for State Tournament play can only help the program according to the veteran coach.
"I think they now know what they are playing for and realize just how much work needs to be done in the offseason," he said. "You can't work on your game that much in the season because you have matches. And when you are practicing it is 35 degrees.
"We are extremely proud of all of them. It's been a great season."
Page 2 of 2 - A season that included some history.