UIL State Tennis
Zein, Sriniketh capture singles State Championships
COLLEGE STATION - Heading into the day there was no doubt that Houston would be walking away with gold.
The Class 6A girls and boys singles title matches had Houston-area talent on both sides of the net.
Fort Bend Dulles' Marlee Zein followed in her older sister Miriam's footsteps and won the 6A Girls Singles State Championship in her senior season with a 6-3, 6-2 straight-set victory against Cypress Ranch's Melissa LaMette.
"Personally I just think it's really cool because it's for my school," Zein said. "It represents my school. All of the people were cheering for me back at home. It just makes it that much more important. It's exciting."
The last time Dulles tennis won a girls singles state title was in 2012 when Miriam Zein accomplished the feat.
Marlee, who is signed to go to the University of Florida, leaves Dulles as a two-time state medalist. In her freshman year she took silver in girls singles, then stepped away from high school tennis for her sophomore and junior years before returning this season.
"We're all very proud of her," Fort Bend Dulles coach Patty Priddy said. "She's worked very hard for a very long time. You don't get the ratings she does without doing that."
Marlee is the first girl to win a singles title since Clear Lake's Janice Shin in 2014.
On the boys side it was a rematch of the Region III-6A title match as Katy Tompkins' Anish Sriniketh and Pearland Dawson's Kevin Zhu collided.
The duo took the match to a decisive third set but just like in the regional final, Sriniketh was able to best Zhu taking the match 2-1 (7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 6-3).
Sriniketh is the first-ever tennis player from Tompkins, boy or girl, to capture a tennis state title.
"It just means a lot," Sriniketh said. "We're a really new school, this is our fifth year, so it's great to be the first one to do anything to be honest. It's just a great feeling."
Sriniketh, who didn't make it out of the District 19-6A tennis tournament last season, used the disappointment from that to fuel his title run this year.
In the regional final against Zhu, Sriniketh didn't take a set from him but that wasn't the story on Friday.
"Today was unbelievable," Sriniketh said. "I believed in myself and wow. I'm speechless actually."
Sriniketh is the first boy from Houston to win a singles title since Stratford's Josh Holloway did it in 2015 capturing the 5A boys singles state title.
This is the first time since 2014 that Houston has captured the UIL's highest classification's girls and boys singles titles. Shin and Katy Taylor's Peter Leung won the 5A girls and boys singles state championship that season, respectively.