Maddie Maloney’s biggest high school tennis goal was to win a state title before she graduated.
Having taken third in singles at state as a freshman and second as a sophomore, Maloney made the switch to mixed doubles with freshman Jesse Haas this spring. The duo proved to be a winning combination, taking the 5A District 5-6 championship and the 5A state championship a week apart in May.
Maloney also played singles for much of April, winning her second East Idaho Invite title and going undefeated against eastern and central Idaho opponents.
For continuing to pile on the victories in both singles and doubles in her last high school season, Maloney is the Post Register’s All-Area Girls Tennis Player of the Year for the second straight year.
The switch from singles to doubles was a smooth one. Despite being two years apart in age and never being an official mixed doubles team until this season, Maloney and Haas meshed well.
“He and I are really good because he’s super consistent,” Maloney said. “He’s so calm on the court. For a freshman, he’s the smartest tennis player. I think we balance each other well.”
Maloney and Haas played mixed doubles together for the first two matches of the season before Maloney finished out April playing singles. During that same time, Haas switched between singles, boys doubles with Bryant Johnson and mixed doubles with Hannah Wright.
The annual Capital Invite in Boise, which Idaho Falls won with 320 points, was the last time Maloney and Haas played separately. Maloney fell in the girls singles title match to eventual three-time 5A state champion Bianca Mok of Boise while Haas and Wright fell to Meridian’s Hannah Uhlenkott and David Galway in the mixed doubles title match.
Maloney and Haas then approached Idaho Falls head coach Tollan Whitlock about ending the season as a mixed doubles team.
“She would have liked to have finished her years at I.F. winning the state (singles) title and getting past Bianca Mok did not seem possible,” Whitlock said. “We recognized her talents as both a singles and doubles player. (Jesse’s) skills as a tennis player were exceptional. They decided with their mutual talents they could easily come in together for a state win.”
After Maloney and Haas won their day one matches 6-0, 6-1 and their semifinal match 6-3, 6-2, the season’s biggest test awaited them in the title match. They faced Capital Invite champions Uhlenkott and Galway, coming away with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win.
“It was awesome,” Maloney said. “I was glad it was a three-set match because it was a battle. There was a ton of people watching because it was the last final.”
The next chapter has already begun for Maloney, who graduated a year early from I.F. on June 4. She is working as a youth tennis instructor at Apple Athletic Club until July 1, when she will move to Sun Valley to work for a Nike tennis camp until leaving for Seattle University on Sept. 15.
Maloney has wanted to play Division I tennis since she was a kid, and the transition has been a fast one.
“It’s so bittersweet,” Maloney said. “I grew up with the kids who graduate next year. It’s a good opportunity. I’m doing it a year faster.”
Although sad to see her go with his nine other 2014 graduates, Whitlock said Maloney will have continued success on and off the court.
“She is exceptionally smart and I think academics for her will not be a problem when she gets to college,” Whitlock said. “In addition to that, she has such a bubbly personality that just brings happiness to her team and teammates. She will do exceptionally well.”