By simply stepping onto the court Wednesday at Sanford's Sylvan Lake Park, Wiregrass Ranch junior Sydney Simpson made history.
Then she nearly made the second round.
The first Bulls player — boy or girl — to qualify for the state tournament, Simpson couldn't sustain her early momentum in a 6-0, 3-6, 0-6 loss to Fort Myers Bishop Verot's Linda Komienko in the opening round of the Class 2A individual singles tournament.
"It was a combination of nerves a little bit, and experience," Bulls coach Tammy Shaw said. "It's a little scary the first time you're out there and don't know what to expect. She's a little disappointed but we were proud of her."
Nature Coast's girls, meantime, suffered a similar fate in the team portion of the tournament. Tossed into a field loaded with private schools and academies, the Sharks failed to advance any of their five singles players or two doubles teams out of the first round.
The No. 1 doubles tandem of senior Rachel Conter and junior Olivia Williams came closest to advancing, falling in two sets including a tiebreaker defeat in the second.
Williams and Conter, two-time district champions, advanced to the individual 2A doubles tourney in 2008.
"I told our girls it took us seven years to get a whole team to states," Sharks coach Louise Downey said. "Now we've got to give ourselves several years to go ahead and get some significant wins at the state level."