Catching Up with Claire Loftus
Mayo High School 2023 Girls Tennis Singles State Champion

I was able to check in with Mayo High School (MHS) junior Claire Loftus after her singles state champion title run in November 2023. She captained the Mayo girls tennis team to its 2023 state title in team, doubles and singles tennis, just a year after the Spartans came in second at state in 2022. In her final match, Loftus, ranked second in Minnesota girls’ high school tennis, won seven games to five over first-ranked Cassan Li from Eagan. Her sister Aoife, a sophomore, came in fourth in the tournament as well. Claire shared a bit of her tennis background as well as what to expect from her in 2024.

Describe your tennis journey.

I began playing tennis when I was 5 years old, and I’ve been a varsity player on this team for five years now. In the beginning, I played with a group of daycare friends once a week. I started playing competitively when I was around 10, and I’ve been playing USTA tournaments ever since.  

I joined the MHS team around five years ago, in seventh grade. I play tennis six days a week, sometimes seven, if I have a tournament on the weekends. I hope to play college tennis, but I am still deciding where and at what level.

 

What does tennis mean to you?

The past few years of my life have almost completely revolved around tennis. When we won the state championship, it felt like all of the hard work and time was paying off.

 

What has the Mayo girls tennis record been, for readers who don’t know?

Our team went undefeated this season (27-0, I think?). The MHS girls high school team has been to the state tournament many times, but we had never won it until this past season. After the 2022 season, we only lost three seniors out of our top 10 players on varsity. Overall, we have a very young, talented and dedicated team. All of the players worked really hard during the offseason, so coming into the 2023 season, we were confident that we had a good chance at winning state. Edina has always been a really dominant team, and we have lost to them on many occasions. This made beating them in the finals an even sweeter victory.

 

You are a hero to many local players. What advice do you have for them?

It takes time to get better, so just trust the process and over time you will see progress. Without failure, success means nothing. 

 

Any thoughts on being a woman athlete?

All people, regardless of their gender, should be able to compete in the sport that they love. Women athletes can do things just as well, if not better than men. 

 

Any specific plans or goals for 2024?

I look forward to continuing to compete and enjoy the game, and I can’t wait for the next high school season and another chance to win state.  I’ll also begin the recruiting process for playing college tennis.

About Author

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Anastasia is a volunteer, mom and gardener. She also loves reading, running and enjoying time with family and friends.

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