The 1979 Edward Little girls tennis team featured state doubles champions Leslie Cummings, back row second from left, and Beth Flynn, back row third from left. Lewiston Evening Journal photo

The Edward Little girls tennis team achieved team and individual success in the late 1970s and early ’80s winning the three types of state championships offered during that time period in Maine.

To reach the pinnacle, the Red Eddies needed to conquer a Southern Maine Activities Association rival, and it wasn’t Lewiston. Both Twin Cities schools were in the SMAA before joining the KVAC in the mid-2000s.

South Portland was the state’s first dynasty after the Maine Principals’ Association began sponsoring girls tennis championships in 1969. The Red Riots won the first nine team titles, from 1973 to  ’81, often leaving Sun Journal-area teams as runner-ups: Lewiston in ’77 and ’79, Rumford in ’80 and Edward Little in ’81.

The Red Riots also had six state singles champions and six of the eight doubles champions before the MPA discontinued doubles titles.

That is the powerhouse that Edward Little needed to overcome for its own mini-dynasty of a doubles, a singles and a team title within a four-year span.

The Red Eddies first broke through in 1979.


That season, they compiled a 13-3 record and reached the state tournament — which was before the MPA instituted the class system — for the first time in school history, falling in the second round to Brunswick.

The standouts of the 1979 team were Beth Flynn and Leslie Cummings, who each compiled a 12-3 record in singles and teamed up for a 13-2 record in doubles competition.

Flynn and Cummings made a run in the 1979 state doubles tournament, which only existed from 1973-80. To win the title, the Edward Little duo, seeded third, would need to take down two South Portland pairings.

On the opening day of the tournament, Flynn and Cummings won their first three matches before beating South Portland’s Lisa Hicks and Jane Pappi 6-1 and 6-0 in the semifinals to end the day. In the state final the following day, Flynn and Cummings faced Leslie Robbins and Penny Orr.

The 1981 Edward Little girls tennis team was the first in team history to reach the state final. The Red Eddies took second that year but won the team title in 1982. Lewiston Daily Sun photo

Robbins, who won the doubles championship with Terri Curtin in 1977, and Orr, who went on to win the 1980 doubles title with Kim Ochmanski, had already beaten Flynn and Cummings in the regular season.

Flynn and Cummings fell behind early in the state final, losing the first two games. But they battled back to win six straight games to take the first set. In the second set, the Edward Little duo again dropped the first two games, but again they won six straight to defeat Robbins and Orr and capture the state doubles title.


After an 11-3 regular season in 1980, Edward Little advanced to the semifinals of the team state tournament, but lost 3-0 to Rumford in a rain-shorten match.

The Red Eddies bounced back the following year and reached the state final, where they, of course, ran into the South Portland juggernaut. Edward Little had some success against the Red Riots in its final match of the regular season, losing a close contest, 3-2. It was the first time all season an opponent earned points against South Portland.

The Red Eddies couldn’t improve on that performance in the final, and the Red Riots again won 3-2 to secure the 1981 state championship. Sophomore Elisa Whittier, Edward Little’s top singles player, was victorious in her match, and the doubles team of Jennifer Munroe and Kendra Quinton won its match. The Red Eddies finished the year 13-4.


Laura Glitz, only a freshman, won the singles state championship and helped Edward Little win the team state championship in 1982. Lewiston Journal photo

Edward Little experienced a dream season in 1982, aided indirectly by a former South Portland player.

Lynn Welch won three consecutive state singles championships from 1972-74 and the state doubles titles in 1973 and ’74 with Betty Tupper. Eight years later, she was a tennis pro, and one of her pupils was Edward Little freshman sensation Laura Glitz.


Glitz was the Red Eddies’ No. 1 singles player, and Elisa Whittier, then a junior, was the No. 2.

In a preview of things to come, the two standouts battled each other in the preseason for the team’s top singles position.

“Their matches were very good and Laura emerged as the more patient player,” Edward Little coach Jean Gastonguay, the father of current Bates College coach, Paul, told the Lewiston Journal in May 1982. “She is a very mature player — especially for her age. She can keep cool and not get flustered in tough situations.”

They also were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the state singles tournament.

With the help of the third singles player, senior Sue Berman, the Red Eddies aced the regular season, going 10-0, including a 3-2 win over South Portland.

Glitz and Whittier each won their first four matches in the state singles tournament. Berman, who was unranked, upset third-seeded Eve Kodis of Deering before bowing out in the quarterfinals to sixth-seeded Julie Beaulieu of Portland in three sets.


Elisa Whittier was the state singles runner-up and helped Edward Little win the team state championship in 1982. Lewiston Journal photo

The state final pitted teammates Glitz and Whittier (who didn’t compete in the singles tournament in 1981 because she was at a national tournament in California) against each other. Whittier challenged Glitz in the first set before the freshman came out on top 6-3 and then cruised in the second set 6-0 to capture the state singles tournament.

Edward Little’s focus then moved on to the team state tournament. The Red Eddies defeated Cape Elizabeth, Lewiston, Deering and Brunswick (by default) to reach the final against South Portland, the nine-time defending champion.

Edward Little’s singles stars took out their South Portland counterparts, giving the Red Eddies all they needed to win 3-2 and capture the school’s first and only state championship, and the last of the MPA’s pre-class era. The win snapped South Portland’s nine-year reign as state champions.

Glitz moved to Pennsylvania after the season, winning the state title there in 1982. She went on to play at Arizona State and, as a professional, compete in all four Grand Slam tournaments — the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. She currently is the coach at Purdue University, and last year became the program’s all-time winningest coach.

In 1984, Edward Little’s archrival Lewiston won its first of 13 state championships. In 2022, the Red Eddies defeated Lewiston for the first time in 40 years and No. 1 player Mya Vincent reached the state singles semifinals.

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