Five Tornados tennis athletes qualify for districts following conference tournament


Following a first-place finish in the South Sound Conference, Yelm High School’s girls tennis team competed in the conference tournament and five Tornados punched their tickets to the district tournament.

Serenity Stepanek was the only singles competitor to qualify for districts, as she earned the No. 4 seed. Yelm’s head girls tennis coach Mike McClellan said Stepanek had a good showing at the conference tournament.

“She was only seeded like sixth or seventh going in, and she’s our No. 2 during the season,” McClellan said. “But here she is going into districts as a four seed.”

Teammate Henlee Sherman will serve as a district alternate. According to McClellan, Sherman lost in a third set tie-breaker, or else she would have earned the No. 5 seed.

Two doubles teams qualified for the district tournament, including the No. 2-seeded Beaudin sisters, McKaylee and Rylan. Teammates Samantha Burian and Alyssa Ellsworth earned the No. 3 seed going into districts.

“We always have a chance. Our girls are good. You just never know what it’s going to be each year, who’s going to come in super strong. Qualifying for state is a big deal,” McClellan said. “I haven’t been tracking the other leagues, but it’s our District 3 and a district from down south. It’s a big tournament. There’s a lot of unknowns. But the good thing about it is that we get to take the top seven to state.”

McClellan said his team showed heart the week before as they fought through hot temperatures. He credited them for playing hard at the SSC tournament.

“They’ve been fired up all year. The team has a great record. They’ve had high goals and expectations all year, and they obtained that,” McClellan said. “We have a group that’s been together for a couple years now. Seven of the varsity were seniors. Rylan is a sophomore. They obtained a goal of making it to the district tournament, but inside I think they want to make it to the state tournament.”

The district tournament is set for Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18, at the Boeing Employees Tennis Club in Kent.

Prior to districts, McClellan said the team celebrated the 2024 SSC champions at its banquet on Tuesday, May 14. The coach said several awards and honors were given out. The results of the banquet were not available to the Nisqually Valley News prior to publication.