Sports

Pate gets full-ride at EWS

"Uhhh! Stacie Pate grunts as she smacks a tennis ball past two reluctant boys on the other side of court. They haven't even touched one of her serves yet, and she's just warming up.That girl is crazy! one of them says.Crazy? No, but insanely good? Maybe. The 2000 graduate ranked as Oak Harbor High School's top tennis player her last three years and went undefeated in regular season play her junior and senior years. Pate recently signed a letter of intent to play tennis next year at Eastern Washington University with a full-ride scholarship. It's going to be fun because the coach and I seem to get along, Pate said. Pate sent Eastern a video in January that showed her hitting different strokes and began speaking with the tennis coach Sonya Herold.Lewis and Clark State College offered her an $11,000 scholarship, but Pate said she chose to go to Eastern because she liked the coach and it's closer to her home. In her sophomore year, Pate broke the regular season wins record with 16. The next year she broke her own record with 18, and then topped it again with 19 her senior year. Along the way she accumulated the most career wins in Oak Harbor history with 53, which beat the old record by 12 wins. Pate placed third in districts and went to state in doubles her junior year, and she placed second in districts and went to state in singles her senior year.She is the best tennis player on the island. No one can beat her, said Horace Mells, Pate's coach during her junior and senior years. Those records will probably be in existence forever.Pate is known for her competitiveness and determination to win. Her intangibles were her strongest assets, Mells said.She started playing tennis in the summer between seventh and eighth grade in Oak Harbor recreational leagues. In high school, Pate realized that she was really good at tennis and felt that she could probably get a scholarship. She decided to quit playing other high school sports to play year round.Pate said that Kathy Devries, her coach during her freshman and sophomore years, was very influential.She gave me helpful pointers that I still use when playing, Pate said. Pate's most memorable match was with her rival Morgan Smith of Sehome this season. When Pate beat her, Oak Harbor snapped Sehome's streak of 40 consecutive match wins and earned Oak Harbor first place in the 4A Western Conference North Division. Oak Harbor went on to win the WesCo championship.Beating Sehome and winning first place for the league championship was very important to me, Pate said."

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