That’s how many consecutive sectional titles Homewood-Flossmoor’s girls tennis team has won through 2012.
Hinsdale Central also is riding a 28-year streak, and New Trier once had a 27-year streak in wining district/sectional titles, according to IHSA records.
The remarkable run for Homewood-Flossmoor started in 1985 — long before any of the current players was born. That year is when current coach Don Baron said he was a sophomore in high school and went to his first concert: a Rick Springfield performance at Alpine Valley.
Yes, it’s been a long run.
During the streak, the Vikings won the state title in 1989, finished second in 1988 and third in 1990, ’91 and ’94. It’s been close to 20 years since the Vikings brought home a state trophy in girls tennis.
Could that change this year? The ingredients are there.
The Vikings finished fifth in 2011 and seventh last year. All four doubles players who qualified for the state tournament — sectional champs Sophia Osabouhien and Timara Maxwell, plus runner-ups Allison Lessner-Kaela Mack — are back.
Osabouhien-Maxwell had a deep run in the state meet a year ago, going 3-2 in advancing to the fourth round of the consolation bracket. Lessner-Mack bowed out with a 1-2 mark.
“We came so close two years ago when we were fifth,” Lessner said. “So we’re really trying to finally get over that hump and maybe bring home a trophy. We have a firm top six and we’re pretty much on a high level.”
Singles players Adesuwa Osabouhein and Faith Huckabee, who accounted for 13 state points for the Vikings in 2012, have graduated but there is some young talent ready to step in.
The Vikings are hoping for big things from freshman Haleigh Porter and sophomore Brittany Henry.
The Tennis Recruiting website lists Porter as a four-star prospect who has recorded victories against five-star and blue-chip recruits.
Henry’s offseason included a 14-year-old championship in the Easter Bunny Open in the north suburbs in March and a 16-year-old title at the Illinois State Open in Oak Brook in July.
The younger players have impressed the veterans.
“All of our spots are pretty much packed down and strong,” Osabouhein said. “We’re all pretty strong and we support each other. We are a family-like team.’’
Meanwhile, the burden of winning 28 straight titles doesn’t seem to bother this crop of Vikings. Of the returning four state qualifiers from 2012, only Lessner related to knowing about the streak.
“I don’t feel pressure of winning sectional,” Maxwell said. “We’re coming into this season believing it’s our year.”