PUEBLO — The dynasty continues.
A year after uncharacteristically settling for the runner-up spot on the state's biggest stage, Cheyenne Mountain redeemed itself Saturday. The Indians got several big wins — both in the winners' and consolation brackets — to claim the Class 4A title at the Pueblo City Park Tennis Complex just ahead of a determined defending state champion.
Final results: Cheyenne Mountain 76, Niwot 71.
Mullen (35), Golden (35) and Palmer Ridge (25) rounded out the top five.
Five points were all that separated the top two teams, and there might've been some premature celebration from the eventual state runner-up. It was that close. Niwot supporters were spotted celebrating after the Cougars' No. 3 doubles team's victory over Cheyenne Mountain in the championship rounds.
In all, the Cougars won state titles in three positions compared to Cheyenne Mountain's two. In 2018, Niwot won it all to end Cheyenne Mountain's nine-year run as the top 4A team.
"I thought we lost it," Indians coach Dave Adams said. "I thought we lost it when we lost (No. 3) doubles. That was a six-point swing, and it was close. I thought that was it. I saw Niwot fans react and started jumping around like they'd just won it."
Tournament officials said it wasn't until Cheyenne Mountain's Ariana Arenson won her third-place No. 3 singles match that the Indians had secured the championship, even while at least one finals match and several playbacks were still going.
Ultimately, the Indians were crowned state champions for the 10th time in the last 11 years, and 23rd overall.
The Indians were headlined by Jensen Enterman's state title win at No. 2 singles — in addition to Sydney Wagner and Emma Delich capturing first place at No. 1 doubles.
But consolation-round wins made the difference, Adams said. Some examples include third-place finishes by Arenson and Morgan Hall at No. 1 singles, in addition to Reed Vaughn and Ruby Muhl finishing in the same spot at No. 2 doubles.
"The fact we won is incredible," said Hall, who advanced to the semifinals each time during her four years. "Even though I didn't win the finals, doesn't matter to me."
Their runner-up finishes also helped in the team standings. Cheyenne Mountain's Kate Twede and Charly Hall lost in the No. 3 doubles final to Niwot's Anna Salle and Georgia Lang.
A few other moments stood out, too.
Palmer Ridge sophomore Tessa Rothwell claimed the No. 3 singles title after beating Golden's Anastasia Outekhine, 6-0, 6-0. Rothwell came in as an underdog as she finished second at regionals last week.
Rothwell first topped Cheyenne Mountain's Arenson — a 2018 state finalist — before getting some redemption by beating Air Academy's Mackie Tate Tygart, the Region 1 champion, in the state semifinals.
"I kept my head down and just had fun," Rothwell said.
Other notable performances were by Air Academy's Mia Kardell/Samantha Cordasco (No. 2 doubles, second) and Palmer Ridge's Halie Karlen/Abby Kugler (No. 3 doubles, third).