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Kent Denver freshman outlasts Danes' Tatje
PUEBLO - In a wellplayed 4A No. 1 singles state girls tennis final, it was Fountain Valley junior Clarke Tatje who was the first to falter.
Tatje and Kent Denver freshman Sammie Watson pushed each other to the limit with a number of long rallies deciding most every point. But in the final two sets, it was Tatje who committed a costly error and allowed Watson to rally for a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 win at Pueblo City Park.
"We both had our times when we made several unforced errors," Tatje said. "I just made most of mine in the second and third sets, and she got most of hers out of the way in the first."
It was an unfamiliar situation for Tatje, who hadn't lost this season.
"I was down 4-1 in the second set, and I knew I had to win some games there to still be in it," Tatje said. "And in the end, it wasn't about hitting winners. It was about who missed first, and unfortunately I did."
A state title for the No. 4 doubles pair of Anne Elder and Katie Porter helped defending state champion Cheyenne Mountain finish fifth with 32 points. First-time state tennis champion Niwot won with 57 points.
Elder and Porter defeated Chelsea Dinkel and Melinda Martin of Fossil Ridge 7-5, 6-3.
"For a team that we only put together in late March, they have really melded quickly," Indians coach Dave Adams said. "Lately they've just been coming up to the net really well and they've been sharper than ever this whole tournament."
The No. 1 doubles team of Emily Venner and Kalyn Miller finished third.
"I was so pleased with the way they were able to hang with the momentum swings," Adams said. "They hung in there and came back after dropping that second set and didn't let up."
Cheyenne Mountain will return nine of 11 players from this year's varsity, including all three singles players.
"This is a lot better than I thought we could do this season with so many young girls," Adams said. "We're going to work hard and hopefully this tournament has whetted their appetite and we'll be back stronger next year."