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Tennis: Double the friendship
For their senior year, Hillary Smith and Anna Prorok are tuning to a near-perfect pitch as musicians and on the tennis court.
Sequim High’s top two singles players, Smith (one) and Prorok (two) remain sharp, with Smith undefeated and Prorok losing in a tight match March 25 against Callie Peet of Port Angeles, Peet winning 6-3, 4-6, (11-9).
Sequim is 7-0 overall and 5-0 in league as of April 22 with matches slated this week in Port Townsend and Bremerton and at home against Port Angeles this week.
For four years, the duo have played with Sequim’s tennis team led by coach Mark Textor, who says his top players lead a large team of hard-hitting girls by example.
“They are definitely two of the most improved players I’ve ever had,” he said.
“Since joining, they’ve grown a lot.”
As juniors, Smith and Prorok — friends since elementary school — went to districts as a doubles team after an impressive season. They won their first match but lost their next two to be eliminated.
This year, the girls turned their attention to playing as singles but they haven’t ruled out returning as a doubles team for a chance at advancing to state.
Against the combined Chimacum/Port Townsend team on April 15, the friends returned as a doubles team for the first time since districts to defeat Sarah Allen and Rachel Maki 6-0 in two sets.
Yet, both Prorok and Textor said the doubles team is up in the air.
“We’ll wait and see,” Prorok said.
Textor said he plans to speak with the team to see what their plans are for approaching the remainder of the season for districts and possibly state.
Sequim’s No. 1 doubles team of Melanie Guan, junior, and Karen Chan, freshman, have been lights out winning all of their matches.
Textor said if Smith and Prorok decide to be a doubles team, then Sequim will have two No. 1 doubles teams because they’re both that good.
One goal Prorok has set for herself is to end her season at state.
Smith sees that as a possibility for her but most likely if she is on a doubles team with Prorok.
Standing in Sequim’s way to an Olympic League title are the Kingston Buccaneers.
Sequim hasn’t beaten the Buccaneers in five matches, dating back to 2009 when the Wolves went undefeated and won the league.
Textor said the Bucs boast some of the best players in the girls 2A — Katie Schwabe, Sarah Zischke and Rachel Nelson.
Smith said she hopes she and Sequim’s team remain undefeated when they go head-to-head on April 29 in Kingston, but they haven’t played each other this season.
“They are our biggest competitors,” Smith said.
“If we play well against Kingston, then they are our only obstacle in the way to become league champions.”
League standings aside, Prorok and Smith are already all-star musicians. Both began playing at early ages with Smith most recently winning the Port Angeles Symphony’s Young Artist Competition with her saxophone. She also plays the clarinet, flute and piano and said her friend Prorok is an ace at playing the piano, too.
Prorok takes a jazz class at Peninsula College but doesn’t plan to pursue it as a career. Smith plans to keep performing in some capacity after college.
When it comes to tennis, Prorok learned it with her dad, Bill, who grew up playing it, she said.
Smith’s family didn’t have any background in tennis.
“I watched the majors on TV, and thought it looked really fun,” she said. “My dad and I went out together and we learned it on the fly.”
This year the girls only played tennis and found it to be a good outlet through their four years.
“It takes my mind off of things when I go out and whack some balls,” Smith said.
Through the camaraderie and success on the court, Textor sees something special in the duo and the whole team.
“It’s definitely one of the most enjoyable teams I’ve ever coached,” he said.