Long: a cut above the rest | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Long: a cut above the rest

Jeremy Evans

Athlete of the year awards are usually for someone who plays multiple sports. Masha Long reversed the trend this year with an accomplishment no other female athlete in school history has achieved.

For that reason, she is the Tahoe Daily Tribune’s 2006-07 South Tahoe High School Female Athlete of the Year.

“She is one of those special players who has good focus and determination and a passion for the sport,” said STHS girls’ tennis coach Pat Fagen. “She was a great addition to our program and helped us out a lot.”

Long went through the regular season undefeated, then continued her streak in the Northern 4A regional tournament in Reno where she disposed of four straight opponents to win the individual regional title. With that performance, she became the first South Tahoe girls’ tennis player to win a regional title.

“I thought I did really well at zone, winning the whole thing this year,” said Long, who placed second at regionals as a junior. “Overall, I am very proud of myself. I definitely wished I had played a little better at state, maybe have gotten a couple of games in. But I have a lot to be happy about.”

Long lost in the state quarterfinals each of the past two years and has made her mark throughout the regional tennis community. Since the high school season ended, she’s continued to work on her game and has almost cracked the top 75 in the United States Tennis Association’s Northern California section for her age division (18 and under).

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She will take her strokes next year to the women’s tennis team at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Until then, she’s going to relish her final few weeks in high school.

“I have no regrets about the year, but I am pretty excited about next year,” said Long, who plans to major in business and also considered UC-Santa Barbara and Long Beach State as college choices. “I know the area and the school has a good tennis team.”