by Adam Baum, Cincinnati Enquirer
GREEN TWP. - Success is a process. It's slow, requires patience, and above all else, persistence.
Case in point: The Oak Hills High School girls' tennis program. For some time, they've sputtered in the middle. This year, they've turned the corner.
Oak Hills competes in the Greater Miami Conference, one of the best conferences in the area, especially, for tennis. The Highlanders (12-7) finished fourth in the GMC tournament, their highest conference finish in program history.
The accomplishments didn't stop there: 12 regular-season wins is a single-season school record, and they have three district qualifiers. The Highlanders have never had three district qualifiers in the same season before.
Seniors Madison Thomas and Hailey Ryan qualified for districts as a doubles team after finishing third at the Division I sectional tournament Oct. 4. Junior Abby Rembold qualified for districts in singles, she finished fourth at the sectional tournament.
It's the first district appearance for all three.
"They've accomplished their goals already; the rest is a bonus," said first-year Oak Hills coach Jeremy Miller, who's also the boys' coach. "People are probably wondering how did these people get in (to districts)."
They're in because they worked hard, noted Miller. They also have the advantage of being underdogs. Yes, advantage.
"They have nothing to lose," said Miller. "Once they reached the (sectional) semis, I could tell they were ready to rock."
The district tournament began Oct. 9 at the Lindner Tennis Center. Rembold lost her first-round match at districts, 6-1, 6-1. Thomas and Ryan also fell in the first round, 6-3, 6-3.
"The top four in the GMC is tough to crack," Miller said.
Miller would know as he played tennis at Sycamore High School, so he's adequately suited to change the landscape of Oak Hills tennis.
"Growing up, when we played Oak Hills, we could throw anyone out there," Miller said.
That's no longer the case. [Read More]