It's Love-Love for Two Ohio Tennis Players at USA Games

By Jill Hammergren

july 25, 2018

The tennis ball went up in the air and the racket connected for a good serve across the court. It returned for a quick volley between the doubles partners, then the server, Megan Daugherty, 44, from Special Olympics Ohio put the ball out of reach for her opponents. She glanced up to the stands, eyes connected, smiles engaged, and love returned. "Way to go dear!" shouted Josh Fry, 45, Special Olympics Ohio. It's clear they had a deep connection. In fact, this love story started on a similar court in a previous USA Games.

Daughtery and Fry found love on the tennis courts at the 2010 USA Games in Nebraska when they met at a training session and then were scheduled as doubles partners. Both athletes were from Ohio, but they did not know each other.

Their partnership on the court soon turned into a romance off the court. For Fry, he was instantly smitten. "I knew right away that I wanted to marry her," he said.  "Josh put his phone number in my dorm room. After a couple of days of Josh doing everything for me, I realized that he liked me," Daugherty laughed, "It felt good to be pursued. It took me a few days to realize I felt the same for him."

After their competition ended in Nebraska, they had to find a way to keep the relationship going back in Ohio, even though they lived a few hours apart.  They managed with a lot of phone calls and mutual trips to see each other. The parents accommodated this, but when the two love-struck tennis partners announced they wanted to become life-long partners it took the parents a bit longer to accept the idea.  "It took us three years to get our head around it," Judy Daugherty said.

"Josh lived an hour from me and he was moving three hours away and leaving a job that he had for 22 years," said Josh's mother, Karen Maxwell, "But I knew it meant a lot for him to have a life partner, so who was I to stand in the way of love?"

Megan's father, Kent Daugherty joked, "We also needed someone to take care of us in our old age."

"And I am that person," Josh Fry quipped with a smile at his father-in-law.

The two families soon melded into one combined family. Josh and Megan were married in 2015. Josh moved to Megan's home town of Medina, Ohio. 

The two tennis partners train together all the time. When it came time to qualify for the USA Games, Megan made it, Josh did not. Still, he was happy to cheer his wife on from the sidelines. "I'm very proud of her," he said.

Megan's double partner for the 2018 USA Games was Katie Ketner, of Canton, OH.  This was the first time they were matched as doubles partners. 

"We've been friends for a long time, Megan is like a sister," said Ketner, who also participated in the USA Games in Iowa and Nebraska.

Daugherty and Ketner lost their match, but both said they had a great time at the USA Games.