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Regional tennis roundup: Liberty sends first group to state; Widefield pulls out of title match
Highlights from regional tennis on Thursday and Friday:
At Loveland: In her 19 years taking teams to regionals, Doherty coach Cheri Rogers said she had never encountered a collection of talent more stacked than this one.
“You were just beating your head against the wall in every single match,” Rogers said. “You wonder what CHSAA is thinking about when they move you all over the state and they can’t possibly consider the strength. How many really good players are going to miss out on a chance to go to state because of this?”
The Spartans will be taking three spots at state. No. 2 singles Kylie Simons, No. 3 singles Elise Cimino and the No. 3 doubles team of Katie Spaulding and Shay Lyons all took second at the regional hosted by Poudre and will play next week at the Gates Tennis Center.
Liberty’s No. 1 doubles team of Tammy King and Kristen Lee won the regional and qualified for state – the first for the school.
King and Lee have both signed college scholarships for volleyball and had not picked up a tennis racket prior to last year.
“They picked up tennis so fast that it’s amazing how well they do,” Liberty coach Ilona Wilson said. “They have good teamwork and communication.”
King and Lee defeated Doherty’s Allie Wilson and Regan Waneka in the finals of the winner’s bracket and the Spartans duo then had to face Loveland in a playback and lost 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (1) to narrowly miss a spot at state.
At Arapahoe: Pine Creek took second in the regional that concluded on Thursday, winning titles at all three singles matches and qualifying the Nos. 1 through 3 doubles teams.
Coach Dave Lehman said it’s not quite the level the Eagles program was at around four years ago, when they would routinely take all seven spots to state; but six out of seven isn’t so bad.
Pine Creek’s state-bound players are freshman Nicole Kalhorn at No. 1 singles, No. 2 singles Sarah Kosbab and No. 3 Hannah Clack. The doubles teams are: No. 1 Katrina Steck and Taylor Verity, No. 2 Emily Steck and Natalie Madden and No. 3 Briana Inglis and Alisha Hinrichs.
At Mullen: Lewis-Palmer coach Paul Kardel said St. Mary’s Academy dominated the 10-team region and the three local squads – L-P, Falcon and Palmer Ridge – were shut out in terms of state qualifiers.
“We had some matches for playbacks, but no one passed through,” Kardel said.
At Cheyenne Mountain: See a full report as Cheyenne Mountain swept every spot. Air Academy qualified in four positions and Coronado, CSS and Vanguard took the others.
At Pueblo County: Widefield’s No. 1 doubles team qualified for the finals, but then withdrew from the tournament upon learning one of their players would be ineligible next week at state.
Coach Joe Greibel received word from the eligibility office at the school just after his team qualified for Saturday’s championship match. Though his player would have been eligible tomorrow, he pulled the team out so another team could experience the thrill of qualifying for state.
“It wouldn’t have been fair to the rest of the teams,” Greibel said of keeping his team in tomorrow’s match. “Frankly, I’m a big proponent of the fact that we’re student athletes and we should take care of business.”
Greibel said the unfortunate part of the situation was informing the other member of the No. 1 doubles team that her season was over through no fault of her own.
“I said that we feel sorry for you and I’m sorry that you’ve been placed in this position, but you have,” Greibel said.
No area players are vying for titles on Saturday in the region that included Canon City, Harrison, Mesa Ridge and Widefield.