MASON — Eaton’s sister act of Macy and Mallory Hitchcock are one step closer to their goal of winning another state championship for the Eagles tennis program.
While the duo had successful singles season this year, they have teamed up to play doubles in the postseason and so far, the results have been perfect.
They swept their way through the Centerville Division II sectional last week and dominated the Southwest District Division II tournament this past weekend in claiming a district championship.
They are now 8-0 as teammates in the postseason.
At the district tournament they lost just three games in seven sets. They won the final by injury default after building a 5-0 lead in the first set over Ananya Annapantula and Addison Cassidy of Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.
They opened district play with 6-0, 6-0 win over Sarika Singh and Hannah Pollock of Cincinnati Indian Hill. In the second round they defeated Sohana Thompson and Charlotte Scharfenberger of Cincinnati Seven Hills 6-0, 6-1. In the semifinals, they beat Mika Morris and Payton Puryear of CHCA 6-1, 6-1.
In the sectional tournament they lost just four games in eight sets, winning 6-0, 6-0 in the first round, 6-1, 6-1 in the second round, 6-0, 6-0 in the semis and 6-0, 6-2 in the final.
Both have the experience of playing at the state level.
Macy, a senior, is a two-time singles state champion but opted to give that title up to play with Mallory, a sophomore, and reigning state double champion.
Their coach, John Hitchcock, is also their dad and he said the discussion about the two teaming up begin shortly after last season’s state tournament.
“The question of whether they would play doubles or not started about 10 minutes after they each had won state last season. Macy in singles, Mallory in doubles with Grace (Murphy),” John said. “And that same question persisted throughout the entire year and honestly, we didn’t fully decide until a few hours before our (sectional) seed meeting in which we were required to declare.”
John said it was tough decision.
“I’d say that it was a 70/30 split favoring doubles with Macy being the primary decision maker,” he said. “We obviously all had input but with her being a senior, Mallory was going to defer to her and I just presented the facts and all the Intel we could gather.”
Opting not to try for a three-peat and become just the seventh player in state history was tough choice.
But the chance to team up to accomplish a goal together was more appealing.
“There have been only six three-time state champions in the 45-plus year history of the tournament, but I also don’t think there have been a sisters doubles champion either,” John said. “And as in life, there are no guarantees either way. So in the end it was decided to try and do something very special with her sister and make a lifetime memory regardless of the outcome.”
John said the two have a chance to do something special.
“How often do you get a chance to do something on this scale with your sister?” he asked. “And another big part of this, is that singles is stressful – period. Then you had all the expectations of winning and repeating is automatic and that just compounds it. Macy witnessed Mallory and Grace high fiving, having each other’s back, laughing. (at times) and really wanted to try and enjoy her final post season run.”
The coach said this year’s doubles field is one of the toughest he’s seen during his coaching days.
“It will be challenging. This is probably the strongest doubles field I’ve seen in a few years. A lot of talented singles players from other schools decided to pair up and do what we did,” he said. ‘Maybe we should’ve advertised or decided earlier on because I think a lot players wanted to avoid Macy. Just about every team we played this season, their head coach’s first question would inevitably be, ‘So what are planning on doing for Sectionals?’ A very rare time for any Eaton team to have that kind of influence.”
The state tournament is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21-22 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.