PUEBLO — Soon after Cheyenne Mountain's Morgan Hall stepped off the tennis court, she couldn't hide her smile.
The senior had a good day.
And so did her teammates.
Hall headlined an impressive run as the team's No. 1 singles player, and the Indians advanced six of seven positions to the semifinals of the Class 4A state girls' tennis tournament, held at the Pueblo City Park Tennis Complex. On Friday, Cheyenne Mountain and defending state champion Niwot — which also advanced six semifinalist positions — wrapped up the first day with 19 points each.
Golden (12), Mullen (10), Palmer Ridge (8) and Air Academy (7) rounded out the top six.
Hall is seeking a grand farewell to her high school career. In the three previous state tournaments, she finished third twice and fourth once. This time, she wants to finish as the best.
So far, so good.
She advanced to the semifinals in dominant fashion, beating her first two opponents 6-2, 6-0 and 6-0, 6-2. Her next foe is a very familiar one — Kent Denver's Josie Schaffer.
Schaffer has knocked off Hall in the semifinals in the past three seasons en route to winning two of a possible three state titles. Last year, Schaffer lost to Niwot's freshman sensation, Lucy Lu, in the championship match.
For Hall, she has a positive outlook.
"I thought I played really well," she said. "I felt really good. I'm really confident right now. I was super focused the whole match."
Cheyenne Mountain is motivated by an uncharacteristic year. In 2018, the Indians finished second behind Niwot to end a nine-year run as the top 4A program.
Once again, the Indians are giving Niwot a challenge.
No. 2 singles player Jensen Enterman along with the Cheyenne Mountain duos of No. 1 Emma Delich/Sydney Wagner, No. 2 Reed Vaughn/Ruby Muhl, No. 3 Kate Twede/Charly Hall and No. 4 Maggie Dwyer/Rachel Mood all earned a shot to play in the finals.
There were some shakeups at No. 3 singles, however.
Palmer Ridge sophomore Tessa Rothwell pulled off a stunner, topping Cheyenne Mountain's Ariana Arenson — a 2018 state finalist — with a thrilling 6-7, 7-5, 6-4 decision. Rothwell will face Air Academy's Mackie Tate Tygart, who produced her own upset by beating another state favorite in Niwot's Rachel Drake, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.
One key doubles matchup is at No. 2. Air Academy's Mia Kardell/Samantha Cordasco will face Vaughn and Muhl in the semifinals. The two teams met in late April, and Air Academy won in two sets.
Other state semifinalists include Palmer Ridge's No. 3 doubles Halie Karlen/Abby Kugler. The quarterfinals result for Air Academy's No. 4 doubles Abby Cole/Ellie Friedman was not available.
The state tournament continues with semifinals at 9 a.m. Saturday at Pueblo City Park Tennis Complex. It was cut from three days to two because of Thursday's rainy conditions.
On Friday, the tournament started about two hours late because officials waited for the courts to dry out. It went well into the late afternoon.