CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Not counting the three powerhouses -- Parkersburg, Huntington and George Washington -- the list of Class AAA girls tennis programs with a team state title is a short one.
Charleston High is the only other two-time champ with titles in 1971 and '73. Beckley (1977), Cabell Midland (2000) and South Charleston (2003) each won once.
Hurricane will try to join the exclusive club when the state tournament begins today. The Redskins are the only Class AAA program that qualified all seven positions for the event, which runs Thursday through Saturday at the Schoenbaum Courts in Kanawha City.
Hurricane's girls program had never sent more than two positions to states.
"Some of the draws came out pretty well," said Glenna Ragle, who is in her 15th season coaching tennis at Hurricane. "I told the girls that it's pretty much set up for them. We can earn more points than anybody because we already have more people there."
In last week's Class AAA Region 4 tournament, two-time defending state champion Huntington won regional titles at five of seven positions. Hurricane, however, kept two of the Highlanders' positions -- No. 4 singles and No. 3 doubles -- out of the state field.
Eight Class AAA girls teams have at least five seeds represented at states. George Washington, Parkersburg, Ripley, Washington and University qualified six spots. Martinsburg, like Huntington, has five.
Those schools might boast more individual regional titles, but none have the earning power Hurricane takes into today's matches.
The Redskins' evolution into a force has been a gradual, but not completely surprising, process.
"Basically when we first started the season we didn't know each other as a team very well; we didn't know our doubles partners," said Ashley White, a senior who won regional titles at No. 4 singles and No. 3 doubles.
"We gained confidence because we won every match but Huntington."
Hurricane, a team Ragle called her deepest ever, finished 14-2 with both losses coming against Huntington.
But matches against tennis superpowers had a different feel, even in defeat. The 8-0 and 8-1 losses turned into nailbiters that could go either way.
White lost twice to Huntington in the regular season, but turned the tables in regionals with an 8-4 win over top-seeded Braddick Price in the No. 4 singles final.