By Chris Chaney
Batavia High School’s Mary Ostingy took an interesting path to get to the girls’ tennis district tournament on Thursday, Oct. 11 at Centerville High School.
While most of the athletes who navigate their way through the sectional tournament do so with power and dominance, Ostingy was able to place fourth in her sectional on Oct. 4 by grinding out matches and wearing down her opponents.
“Actually, she played from behind, I guess would be the best way to put it,” Batavia tennis coach Amber Kelley said. “Out of three matches, the second two were the challenging matches.”
Coming out of the first round with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Goshen’s Jenna Staehling, Ostingy found herself down 5-0 in her second-round match with Mariemont’s Jasmine Slavik.
“(Ostingy) was actually down five-love and managed to come back and win 7-5, which is a huge feat alone,” Kelley said. “Then she managed the next six games in a row. So basically, she almost lost the first set and then won the next 11 games in a row to win the match. Absolutely came from nowhere.”
Similarly, in her quarterfinal match, Ostingy came from behind to win the first set 7-5 once again, this time against Alex Bissantz from Summit Country Day. She closed her out 6-4 in the second set to move to the sectional semifinals, which guaranteed her a berth in the district tournament even though she lost her next two matches, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 and 6-2, 6-2.
“Basically what Mary does, which a lot of kids don’t do, is play very steady,” Kelley said. “The longer she plays with them, the better she gets and her opponents often get frustrated by that.”
As the only member of her team to make it to districts, Ostingy had already achieved her goal.
“Mary came in (to sectionals) hoping to advance to districts, but it was not an expectation,” Kelley said. “Once she made it to districts, she had made her season, that was the highlight.”
Kelley explained that although she came in as the fourth seed and was matched up against Danielle Wolf of Cincinnati Country Day, one of the best players in the city, she relished that opportunity.
Unlike most kids, Ostingy enjoys playing exceptional players, and unfortunately, that’s exactly what she got. Wolf defeated Ostingy 6-0, 6-1, but it wasn’t a somber occasion.
“Mary was able to get a game off of her and that’s more than a lot of kids can say,” Kelley said. “Her parents were extremely ecstatic and were probably as excited as Mary was.
“And for Batavia (tennis), it’s awesome because (it showed the younger players) that if you commit and you play, this is the level that you can get to.”