Huron’s Miriam Gandham was perfect in 2019 on the tennis court.
The senior put on a dominating performance at two singles to win a Division 1 state title last weekend for the River Rats. After winning her first two matches 6-2, 6-4, Gandham defeated Bloomfield Hills’ Grace Shaya 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals and then swept Savannah Matuszewski of Midland Dow 6-0, 6-0 in the finals.
Her perfect performance at the state meet put the finishing touches on her perfect season. She finished a perfect 29-0 on the season.
Despite her success during the season, Gandham didn’t take anything for granted at the State Finals at the Greater Midland Tennis Center.
“I had a close match with my opponent during the season and she also took out the #2 seed, so I knew she was playing at a high level and I needed to bring it also,” she says. “I just focused on my game plan and since it was my last high school match I really wanted to enjoy it.”
And enjoy it she did – eventually.
“Going into States I was very nervous because I felt a lot of pressure and expectations,” said Gandham, the No. 1 seed. “These nerves took over the first day and I didn’t have a ton of fun. Going into the second day, I just wanted to enjoy the atmosphere and my last States. Even though my matches were harder the second day, I felt a lot more confident and relaxed on the court as my focus wasn’t on my nerves or winning, but just going out and playing hard.”
When she finally delivered her final winning point, it was game on!
“I was extremely happy that I could accomplish this, especially for the second time,” she says. “It was a little bittersweet as this was my last high school match and States with my team.”
Speaking of the team, Gandham helped lead Huron to a sixth-place finish in the always competitive D-1 tournament.
“We lost a few players last year, so a lot of us came into the season thinking this was a rebuilding year,” she said. “But as we started playing matches we realized we were still a top team in the state and started believing in ourselves. Our hard work really showed in States when we came in sixth and pulled off some big wins specially in doubles.”
Miriam, the daughter of Micheal and Rachel Gandham, first started playing tennis at 6 years old when her dad handed her a racket. “I was hooked,” she says. “I started playing with my brother and was always trying to keep up with him and beat him. This progressed into competitive tennis.”
She plays USTA year round under the guidance of coaches Dan Goldberg and Emily Kelley. She will be attending Vassar College in the fall and playing tennis.
“I just want to enjoy playing college tennis for the next four years and continuing to improve my game,” she said.
Apparently, you can improve on perfection.