WICHITA — A primal yell bounced off the blue and green court at Riverside Tennis Center after a ball landed just out of bounds in front of Jillian Harkin’s pink-and-white Adidas shoes.

Harkin had served, up 40-love with one point needed to clinch both the second set and the match, in the Class 6A state girls’ tennis singles championship Saturday.

Blue Valley Northwest junior Emily Chiasson pushed her return long, giving Harkin the 6-4, 6-4 win.

“Oh my gosh, it was literally the coolest feeling ever,” said Harkin, Manhattan High’s star junior. “I was about to serve, and I had chills. I was so nervous.”

Chiasson, who finished third at state last season as part of a doubles pair, made Harkin work for every point throughout the two-set, 20-game match.

Harkin won the opening game of Set 1. The two alternated winning games until Harkin rattled off two in a row to lock up the opening set.

Set 2 did not start as positively for Harkin, however. At one point, Chiasson led 3-1 and appeared cool, calm and in control as Harkin struggled to find consistency.

But Harkin buckled down to win the fifth game to get back within one. She then captured the next two games to move ahead for the first time in the set, up 4-3.

“When I was down 3-1 in the second, I was just trying to keep a positive attitude and remember that I got the first set,” Harkin said. “And then I just worked for every point. I was just trying to not think about what the score was. I was just thinking about the first point and then the second point. I just wanted to be aggressive.”

Harkin and Chiasson split the next two games, which allowed Harkin to hold serve in the match-deciding game.

The junior dominated, not allowing Chiasson a single point in the decisive game on her way to the championship.

“It’s been a road for her,” MHS head coach Tony Ingram said. “Freshman year, third place, last year making it to the championship. (Winning state) has been a goal of hers, and I’m just happy for her and happy for her family and all of the time they’ve put in. They’re a tennis family through and through.”

What was most evident in Harkin’s win — aside from her competitive spirit, which showed through in a multitude of ways, including celebrating each game win by loudly yelling “point!” along with excited first pumps toward the crowd — was her athleticism.

Chiasson tried to test the limits of Harkin’s speed and quickness, but could not get the junior to break, as the soon-to-be state champ flew around the court, countering each well-placed ball by fully extending her long limbs — even to the point of scraping the court with her racket while swinging at particularly low balls.

“It’s an asset for her,” Ingram said. “She’s played in enough high-level competition that she understands angles really well, and she has great length. She runs the 800 in track, so when we’re running in warmups, she’s always competing to be the first one done with their sprints.”

Harkin dispatched Olathe Northwest sophomore Ella Novion 6-1, 6-1, in the semifinals in her first match Saturday. She closed Friday with her lone three-set match of the tournament, versus Shawnee Mission East sophomore Katie Murphy.

Murphy won the opening set 6-4 before Harkin left her in the dust, winning 12 straight games to close the match 6-0, 6-0.

“I think coming into that match, I was looking too far ahead into the semis and the finals,” Harkin said. “So after I lost that first set, I just tried to stay in the moment starting in that second, and I think it really opened my eyes to how good the competition is here.”

The quarterfinal match marked the 100th win of her high school career.

Harkin ends the season with a 32-2 record after two close losses, one to Shawnee Mission East junior Bryson Langford, who also earned a state championship, her third straight, with doubles partner Greta Stechshulte. Harkin’s only other setback in 2021 came at the hands of Serena Beria, who plays for the Barstow School in Kansas City, Mo.

They were the first two regular-season losses she’s ever had at MHS. The regular-season slate was specifically tailored to challenge Harkin, with the hopes that the heightened competition would pay dividends once the postseason arrived.

“I think having some tough matches and some really close losses really helped me and really motivated me to work harder,” Harkin said. “When I play players who are good, it makes me better.”

Harkin is the first girls’ singles state champion for Manhattan since Maria Rosenberg in 2000, and only the second in school history. Her brother, Daniel, won the boys’ singles state title last year as a senior.

As a team, the Indians finished fifth overall with 18 total points. Shawnee Mission East won the Class 6A team title, its third straight.

Harkin will return next year to try for back-to-back state titles. MHS also will bring back its No. 2 singles player, Maura Wiens, as well as the doubles team of Erin Craft and Jessica Zhang. The pair was the Indians’ No. 2 doubles team this season.

“It’s the best feeling,” Harkin said. “I’m so excited and I’m so excited that I have another season next year to do it again.”