Jaden Coston hardly skipped a beat after a year off from competing for the Slidell High girls’ tennis program.
Coston rallied to a 6-3, 6-0 win over Knippa’s Olivia Faust to claim her second girls’ 1A singles title. Coston also struck gold in 2019 as a freshmen before being sidelined last when COVID-19 canceled the state tournament.
Coston said this year’s tournament was everything she hoped it would be.
“Today was really exciting,” she told WCMessenger.com. “It was so overwhelming winning. I was super nervous for the final match because I hadn’t felt good the whole three days at the tournament.”
No one would have known it by the way Coston made quick work of all those standing in her way leading up to the final, downing Happy’s Sydni Middleton in the quarterfinals 6-0, 6-2 and Mertzon Irion County’s Melanie Rainey 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals.
“There was a little bit of panic,” Coston said of her showdown with Faust. “I got behind in the first two games. I looked up at the scoreboard and remember wondering, ‘What if I lose?’ I started playing a little better and managed to win that first set.”
Slidell fans wasted little time celebrating Coston’s latest accomplishment.
“After a year off the court due to COVID-19, Slidell’s Jaden Coston — the reigning 2019 1A state girls singles tennis champion — defended her title, claiming her second gold medal in comeback fashion,” WC Messenger posted on its Twitter page.
Coston said she’s proud of the way she’s been able to stay on course and move forward.
“My game has stayed consistent even though I lost my sophomore season,” Coston said. “I’ve been able to stay right with my opponents around me. I work a lot on my game outside of school. So although I didn’t play last year, I still kept working hard.”
As the school’s first state tennis champion, Coston said she now has one goal in mind as her senior season approaches.
“I want to win it again,” she said. “Although I’ve won it the past two years, I’m not bored with it. I’m actually more nervous than before. I’ve got to get my nerves under control because it was not awesome being as nervous as I was this year.”
Slidell coach Tyler Maynard likes her chances.
“She’s technically the defending champion for three years in a row now, and I think she’s got a very good chance to do it again next year,” he said. “Hopefully with everything she went through this year, it will help her. I think her chances will be even better than this year.”