All-Calhoun County girls tennis: Loeken helped Donoho finish second at state

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Jul. 14—Hayley Loeken had quite a productive first year as Donoho's tennis coach.

For leading the Falcons to a state-runner-up finish and their sixth consecutive championship in the Red Wilder Invitational, the de facto Calhoun County tournament, Loeken is The Anniston Star's Calhoun County coach of the year for girls tennis.

Donoho put up 36 points in the Class 1A-3A state tournament, finishing second to St. Luke's Episcopal's 61.

No. 1 singles player Claire Hillman, No. 2 Lily Grace Draper, No. 4 Harper Pumroy and No. 1 doubles Hillman/Draper reached the finals. Hillman/Draper won their bracket.

Donoho swept five of six singles finals and all three doubles finals at the Red Wilder.

"The key to the great season was how dedicated the girls were, and how the top five have played together for the last four years," said Loeken, who coached Oxford's girls from 2014-17. "We had a strong senior (Claire Walker) at the fifth seed who the girls have always looked up to. Our top three girls have incredible strength and stamina."

Loeken credited Anniston Country Club pro Igor Santos and Tommy Capps, Hillman's grandfather, for a big assist.

"Igor was a huge asset, and his constant dependability and coaching was a big part of our success," Loeken said. "Tommy brought years of tennis expertise to the courts, as well. He saw things I did not, and was always available when I needed to discuss techniques, coaching styles, or footwork.

"I'm very appreciative of all the parents' support."

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.

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