Pain, pain go away...

Injuries seem to have cursed Oak Harbor senior Kara Merriman her entire high school career.

A torn meniscus as a freshman required surgery on her left knee.

The same injury on her right knee her sophomore year demanded another operation.

And a sprained wrist and ankle during her junior year allowed the Wildcats’ prospective number one singles player to only participate in five tennis matches the entire season.

Luck, however, seems to have finally turned around for Merriman in her final season on the tennis court.

“This year I’ve been really healthy and that’s probably what’s kept me going,” she said.

Merriman has not just stayed away from injury, but she has lit up the Western Conference North in singles.

Throughout the regular season she put forth a 14-2 record and will enter the division tournament tomorrow, May 19 in Stanwood as a number two overall seed.

“It’s pretty exciting,” she said. “I’ve been able to play a lot harder and more consistent — the injuries just held me back so much.”

So far this season, Merriman’s two defeats have come at the hands of the league’s number-one ranked player from Stanwood, Angela Schonberg and Cascade’s top player Chandi Sun.

Merriman lost to Schonberg, but also picked up a three-set win against her the second time around.

In the loss to Sun, Merriman blamed it on too many mental mistakes and thought the results could have been a lot different.

“It was just being inconsistent,” she said. “I messed up a lot.”

As she heads into the division tournament, head coach Horace Mells feels very strongly about what his number one player can do.

“The only way she’s going to lose to one of those players is if she makes a lot of mistakes,” he said. “She’s quick enough and has enough skills to beat any of them.”

The division tournament continues through Saturday, May 21 at Stanwood High School. The top four from there move on to the district tournament May 26-28 at Arlington High School and the top three at districts advance to state.

Over the next couple of weeks Merriman wants to keep her focus channeled, hopefully enough to earn a trip to the state tournament — something an OHHS female player hasn’t done since Teresa Black in 2002.

“I mainly just want to stay healthy and consistent,” she said. “I don’t want to get distracted, especially because it’s the end of senior year and there’s a lot of stuff going on.

I really just want to focus on tennis.”

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