As Columbus East’s No. 1 singles player for the past four years, Ashlee Hasson took on the best players every opponent had to offer — and beat most of them.
Hasson went 67-13 for her career with the Olympians. That includes a 17-3 record this season, for which she is The Republic Athlete of the Year for Girls Tennis.
“While tennis is a team sport, and we win as a team or not our No. 1 player plays everyone’s best,” East coach Cheryl McGee said. “Over Ashlee’s four years of playing No. 1 singles, she, for the vast majority of her opponents, has made it look easy to win, but for her it has not been easy.”
Hasson’s tennis career started years before she arrived at Columbus East.
“Since I’ve known her, she works out daily or nearly daily,” McGee said. “She has lessons several times a week. She plays in tournaments in the summer. She and (junior No. 2 singles player) Megan Galle (who have been neighborhood friends for years) work together to improve their games. Ashlee, to say it simply, works hard.”
The Athlete of the Year honor is the second in a row for Hasson, who led the Olympians to a sectional title last season. She was also a member of The Republic All-Area team her first two years.
“I felt as though I had more experience this year,” Hasson said. “With each year you play, you learn something new. I felt as though I did well finishing out my high school career, and I’m happy with the way everything turned out.”
“I think last year, even though she played wonderful tennis her freshman and sophomore, she had an even better junior year,” McGee said. “This year, it was like she never stepped off the court. She stepped back on and had another outstanding year.”
Hasson’s only losses this season came against powerhouses from Bloomington North, Floyd Central and Bloomington South. The loss to Bloomington South’s Denise Azcui came in the Individual Singles Sectional round.
“I felt as though I had a good experience there,” Hasson said. “There are a lot of points I’m thankful for, and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my teammates. It was definitely a good way to end my high school career. I felt the team did well and came together.”
“Her strength improved her junior year, and her consistency and her mental toughness on the court was a big factor for her this year,” McGee said. “It’s a real pleasure as a coach to have a No. 1 singles player for four years that you can almost always count on for a win.”
This summer, Hasson plans to play in a few college-level tournaments and spend a lot of time practicing. Then, it’s on to Southern Indiana, where she will major in nursing and play for the Screaming Eagles.
“I’m looking forward to being part of their program at Southern Indiana,” Hasson said. “It will be a new an exciting chapter in my life.”