RALEIGH — A few months after Mount Airy’s women’s tennis team finished as state runner-up in 2016, one of the Lady Bears’ seniors, Logan King, announced she would continue her career at the collegiate level.
She did indeed play on, but her college plans took a 203-mile detour following her signing announcement the following spring.
King, who had played at No. 3 singles for Mount Airy as a senior, had initially signed with Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, but ended up matriculating at Meredith College in Raleigh instead, and joining the tennis team there. She ended up in the starting lineup for the Avenging Angels and had a solid freshman season for them.
Meredith played in an invitational tournament in the fall and then played its regular USA South Conference schedule this past spring. By the time of the Sept. 15-17 Methodist Invitational in Fayetteville, King had earned the No. 6 singles spot in the Angels’ lineup and competed at that spot in the tournament. She won her college debut on Sept. 15, beating Valerie Sergeant of Hollins University 6-3, 6-4. King ended up finishing third in her bracket, beating Casey Carroll of host Methodist 6-1, 6-2.
Meredith played a match in January against Division I Elon and lost, and later played a number of Division II schools when the season started in earnest during February. The Angels started the season with an 0-8 record as a team before ending the skid on March 17 against Mary Baldwin College, where King scored a win at No. 5 singles. The Angels won seven out of eight matches in the middle portion of their schedule.
King had an impressive individual win on March 30 when her team made it back to the Triad area to take on Salem College. Again playing at No. 5, she took on the Spirits’ Grace Wilson and dropped the first set, then got up two breaks and won the second. King played in many split-set matches in high school, but college matches play a full third set in such instances, rather than a tiebreaker. So King and Wilson battled in set three and neither would give in. King finally outlasted her foe in a 4-6, 6-2, 11-9 marathon, then had enough energy left to help teammate Alexandra Cheney win the No. 3 doubles for Meredith. The next day, the Angels traveled to Greensboro College, and King won both her matches while losing just one game.
On April 4, her two wins, at fifth singles and with Cheney in doubles, were the difference in a 6-3 victory over Averett that lifted the Angels to 4-2 in conference play. She didn’t lose a game in either match.
Her personal winning streak ended with a loss in singles the next day at Ferrum College, but she and Cheney teamed up to win in doubles as Meredith claimed a 7-2 team win.
The conference season ended on April 6 with a showdown against cross-city rival William Peace, where the Angels had just five players available. King moved up to No. 4 singles, and Meredith had to forfeit at No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles. But the Angels won the match anyway. King scored a double-bagel win in singles, while she and Cheney lost just one game at No. 2 doubles.
Meredith ended up finishing third in the East Division of the USA South with a 6-2 league mark.
Following the season, King earned a spot on USA South’s All-Sportsmanship Team for women’s tennis, an award she had also won in high school, when she was a two-time All-Northwest 1A Conference performer on the court.
During Meredith’s April 26 Athletic Awards Night, she was named as the team’s Most Improved Player.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.