If Shloka Tambat was going to win the girls Frederick County Public Schools tennis championship at No. 1 singles Tuesday, it was going to have to be without her own running commentary that goes on between points.
“When I talk to myself, sometimes it’s really negative, and I drag myself down,” said the Urbana freshman and noted perfectionist. “I just told myself my five key points, and I just went with it.”
Playing with remarkable poise and refusing to let any negative moment sidetrack her, Tambat became Urbana’s first girls county singles champion in tennis since Cassie Meyer won back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000.
Tambat’s 6-4, 6-0 victory Tuesday at Oakdale High School over Thomas Johnson’s previously unbeaten Madison Warren avenged a straight-set loss to Warren earlier in the season.
The championship brought a sense of relief — she put a lot of pressure on herself to win the match — and happiness for Tambat. The five key points she focused on were making no first-ball errors, keeping her feet moving, maintaining a regular breathing pattern, shaking off all of the nerves early in the match and just remaining confident.
“I feel incredibly happy,” she said. “Nothing is going to take this away from me ever. I just feel so happy.”
Tambat’s victory was part of a tour de force showing for the Urbana boys and girls tennis teams, which swept the county titles in every bracket except No. 2 singles for both the girls and the boys competitions. Those singles titles were won by Tuscarora’s Anna Frye and Ben Anspach, respectively.
The boys and the girls tournaments were contested simultaneously over a two-day period at different locations. The boys played at Urbana High School, while the girls played at Oakdale. Normally, the FCPS tennis championships are played at Baker Park.
The boys county title was won by Urbana junior Charles Lowery, who beat Tuscarora’s Karthick Sankar 6-3, 6-3 in the No. 1 singles final.
Lowery moved up to No. 1 singles after unbeaten teammate and two-time county champion Kevin Li chose not to play in this season’s county tournament, and Lowery made the most of the opportunity.
“There’s not huge weaknesses in his game,” Urbana tennis coach Jon Walton said. “He’s very consistent, but he knows when to hit a winner. He has a very good serve. He’s clever. He’s a tennis players’ tennis player. He’s very crafty, high IQ and he plays within himself.”
At No. 1 girls doubles, Urbana’s Sophie Nielson and Lindsey Croghan triumphed over Middletown’s Natalie Fox and Riley Cowperthwaite, 6-1, 1-6, 10-6, reversing an outcome from earlier in the season.
For Nielson, a senior, it marked her third county doubles title. She won the mixed doubles title in 2018 with partner Richard Lombardo and the No. 1 doubles title in 2019 with partner Aaliya Husain.
“That’s one thing we pride ourselves on at Urbana is being able to make adjustments and self-assess,” Urbana girls coach A.J. Stuart said, referring to the turnaround victories for both Tambat and Nielson and Croghan. “They are not high-maintenance. We don’t need to coach them every time they change sides. They are smart enough. They are knowledgable enough. They know how to make those adjustments on their own, and that’s what makes them good players.”
Urbana’s other county champions Tuesday were Diya Rawal and Priya Patel in No. 2 girls doubles, Jordan Hyde and Lauren Broder in No. 3 girls doubles, Javin Ahuja and Rahul Harish in No. 1 boys doubles, Ayush Joshi and Nanda Kota in No. 2 boys doubles and James Garvey and Nikhil Kurian in No. 3 doubles.
For Hyde, it was her second consecutive county title at No. 3 girls doubles.
The Hawks scored 38 points in both the boys and girls tournaments to sweep the team championships. Tuscarora was second in the boys tournament with 22 points, while Middletown was second in the girls tournament with 17.
“The fact that [the doubles teams] really didn’t have a lot of time to play together, but really jelled the last two weeks was really neat to see,” Walton said. “They really stepped to the occasion and embraced it. That was awesome.”