The four prodigies of Ottawa High School seniors Ellie Gallagher and Natalie Tabor; junior Regan O’Fallon; and freshman Ella Marvel-have done it again.
The four girls qualified for state and were among the 64 schools in the 1A division that made it. Marvel and Tabor played singles, while Gallagher and O’Fallon played doubles together. This was O’Fallon’s second time at state, and Tabor and Marvel’s first time qualifying for state, but Gallagher’s 4th time.
Gallagher and O’Fallon came 2nd in sectionals and were seeded 9-16 at state. Tabor came in 3rd and Marvel won sectionals. “It was such a good feeling to go onto state because I knew all of my hard work paid off,” Marvel said.
On the first day of state, Tabor and Marvel fell to very tough competition. “Playing at state, everything felt very organized and official . . . It was super different from any tournament I had been in, and there was some really good competition,” Tabor said.
O’Fallon and Gallagher won all three matches the first day, so they advanced to the second day. “It was a really big day for us, and those three wins secured our spot in the Elite 8, which was a really big win for us,” O’Fallon said. Considering they were seeded 9-16, earning a spot in the Elite 8 is a huge accomplishment.
On the second day of state, their first match was the three and four seed team from Chicago University High School, who they beat. Then, they played the second seed, but lost. After a tough loss, they played the first seed and were unable to get back to the winning streak. They finished 4th in state, which is a tremendous accomplishment. Both girls were awarded medals and a firetruck escort when they arrived back in town.
This is Gallaghers second time placing 4th in state, which also made OHS history. “It feels good to be the most decorated female tennis player in Ottawa’s history,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher plans to play tennis in college but is undecided of where she wants to go. Tabor said she is hoping to play on a Club team.