By Amanda Eggert EBS Staff Writer
BIG SKY – Lone Peak High School junior Luisa Locker claimed the State C tennis championship in Missoula on May 21, a victory she missed by just two points in her only loss last year.
Locker, the No. 1 seed entering the 2016 tournament, handily defeated Libby’s Kaylene Hudson in the final match of her junior year, scoring 6-2 the first set and 6-1 the second.
But the real action occurred in the previous match, when Locker squared off against Brooke Nicholson from Chinook in the semifinal round. LPHS Head Coach Carla Gorman said Nicholson has been gunning for Locker since last season—and even defeated her earlier this year at the Divisional Tournament in Townsend May 12-13.
“It was a wake-up call for Luisa that the competition was there and she was serious,” Gorman said.
Locker stepped up her play in Missoula. “She really battled that semifinal and took her game to a whole [new] level,” Gorman said.
Locker came out strong that match, winning the first set 6-1, but losing the second to Gorman 6-4. Locker refocused her efforts during the next battle, scoring 6-3 to advance to the championship match.
Gorman said Locker has a rare quality for a girl of her age: a full game. “She’s developed the whole spectrum of shots,” Gorman said. “She’s smart—she knows what to do and when to do it.”
Several Big Sky tennis enthusiasts have taken note of Locker’s skill and drive, and have helped her develop a solid game. “She’s a child of the community,” Gorman said, adding that Luisa’s been playing with her uncle Andy Locker for years.
LPHS’s tennis program nearly doubled in 2015, jumping from four players its first year to seven this season. Joe Gorman, Carla’s husband, is the team’s assistant coach.
Gorman overheard chatter at the tournament that Locker should play professionally; she has no doubt, she said, that Locker could. And Locker still has her senior year to improve her game.