DENVER — Natalie Munson has always played with an edge.
There were times in the past where it has gotten the Fairview senior in trouble and threatened to derail her game.
But over the years she has learned to manage and almost use it as a positive. On Thursday in the first day of the Class 5A state tournament at Gates Tennis Center, she once again battlied her aforementioned demon.
In her quarterfinal match at No. 2 singles against Mountain Range's Jennifer Phan, an opponent she had beaten twice handily this season, Munson found herself in a early 5-0 hole.
She managed to rally to win the first set in a tiebreaker, dropped the second and then, riding what amounted to an emotional roller-coaster, was able to advance 6-3 in the deciding set.
"She is always battling herself in a match and she is her primary antagonist," said Fairview coach Susan Stensrud, whose team was the only one to advance all seven spots out of the first round of the tournament. "She is always fighting frustration with herself. It is a constant war and because she is a perfectionist and wants to do well, she struggles when she is not perfect."
Munson, to her credit, maintained her composure — knowing what she had to do for her team — and played some of her best tennis down the stretch against the lighter hitting Phan.
"Most of the time I have come out way more confident and with it being senior year at state, I just think there was a little more pressure," said Munson, whose Knights lead the team chase after Day 1 ahead of Cherry Creek. "This tournament, I don't really care where I place, but I care more about where our team places and I think we have a chance to win it all."
It was banner day across the board for the Knights, who finished Day 1 with 19 points to Cherry Creek's 18.
Top singles player, freshman Seraphin Castelino — battling a nasty cold the last few days — cruised 6-0, 6-0 in her first round match and then got pushed to three sets in her quarterfinal match against Ponderosa's Lauren Lindell. She would eventually advance to a semifinal date with Mountain Vista's Casey Zhong with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 victory.
Fellow freshman Sophie Pearson looked great at No. 3 singles in her state debut. She surrendered just three games in her two matches — including a 6-1, 6-0 win over Monarch's Madison Risi in the first round — and will face Heritage's Lauren Thomas in the semifinals.
The only hiccup for the Knights on Thursday was at No. 1 doubles. The team of Carolyn Roberts and Ellie Savage — who have been paired together for three seasons — dropped a tight quarterfinal match to the Arapahoe team of Natalie Sloboth and Elizabeth Palmer 7-6 (3), 7-5.
"Did any one else get everybody through the first round? Nobody," Stensrud said. "So it is something to be proud of. State is a crap-shoot and everybody plays the best they can."
It was a rough day for the rest of the BoCo contingent.
Boulder's Annie Chen was ousted in first round by Lindell 6-2, 6-2 and by virtue of Lindell's loss to Castelino will not be back for the playbacks.
Broomfield's Madison Clements lost her opening round match at No. 2 singles to Mountain Vista's Kendra Lavallee 6-4, 6-1 and will be rooting hard for the Golden Eagles senior in Friday's semifinals that get underway at 9 a.m.
CLASS 5A STATE TOURNAMENT
At Gates Tennis Center
First round matches
Team scores — Fairview 19, Cherry Creek 18, Mountain Vista 14, Fossil Ridge 9, Poudre 8, Heritage 7, Denver East 6, Ponderosa 6, Chatfield 6, Arapahoe 4, Ralston Valley 3, Grandview 2, Mountain Range 2, Lakewood 2, Rock Canyon 1, Fruita Monument 1, Grand Junctions 1, Central of Grand Junction 1, ThunderRidge 1, Legend 1.
No. 1 singles — Sarah Fleming, Fruita Monument def. Jenesse Johnson, Denver East, 6-2, 6-2; Gloria Son, Cherry Creek def. Mikki Erickson, Regis Jesuit, 6-0, 6-1; Kristen Kirby, Mountain Range def. Grace Koza, Chatfield, 6-3, 7-6 (6); Ky Ecton, Poudre def. Ally Bellas, Pine Creek, 6-2, 6-0; Seraphin Castelino, Fairview def. Mackenzie Jones, Arapahoe, 6-0, 6-0; Lauren Lindell, Ponderosa def. Annie Chen, Boulder, 6-2, 6-2; Shawnea Pagat, Fossil Ridge def. Natalie Hagen, Highlands Ranch, 6-2, 6-2; Casey Zhong, Mountain Vista def. Emily Hopwood, Greeley West, 6-0, 6-0.
No. 2 singles — Haley Hildenbrand, Legend def. Julia Trujillo, Pine Creek, 6-1, 6-0; Alessia Fabiano, Poudre def. Natalie Borchelt, Arapahoe, 6-1, 6-1; Jennifer Phan, Mountain Range def. Skyler Mydler, Regis Jesuit, 6-0, 6-2; Natalie Munson, Fairview def. Delsie Johnson, Fort Collins, 6-2, 6-2; Chloe Schilling, Heritage def. Tayvia Voytilla, Fruita Monument, 6-0, 6-1; Micha Handler, Cherry Creek def. Claire Cox, Ponderosa, 6-0, 6-0; Kendra Lavallee, Mountain Vista def. Madison Clements, Broomfield, 6-4, 6-1; Tara Teslow, Fossil Ridge def. Paula Pulido, Highlands Ranch, 6-3, 7-5.
No. 3 singles — Sophie Pearson, Fairview def. Madison Risi, Monarch, 6-1, 6-0; Isabel Manzanares, Grand Junction def. Abby Audino, Highlands Ranch, 7-5, 7-5; Lauren Thomas, Heritage def. Amber Glantz, Ponderosa, 6-1, 6-2; Koy Ecton, Poudre def. Rachel Wegener, Legend, 6-2, 6-2; Josie Williams, Arapahoe def. Kayla Hoskins, Greeley West, 6-2, 6-4; Madi Allen, Mountain Vista def. Katy Schuerkamp, Pine Creek, 6-3, 6-1; Bailey Koronich, Fossil Ridge def. Maddie Bove, Rock Canyon, 6-2, 6-1; Sayuri Garud, Cherry Creek def. Claire Quinn, Regis Jesuit, 6-2, 6-0.
No. 1 doubles — Ashlen Grote/Alex Begler, Mountain Vista def. Anna Hoffman/Abbot Hoeven, Poudre, 6-1, 6-0; Phoebe Mackenzie/Hannah Fernley, Cherry Creek def. Riley Knipp/Maddie Wewel, Ralston Valley, 6-4, 6-3; Sydney Waite/Hunter Barker, Ponderosa def. Lauren Froning/Olivia Boyd, Chatfield, 6-2, 6-2; Caroline McLeod/Kendall Jackson, Heritage def. Sarah Huh/Ana Horvath, Broomfield, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3; Carolyn Roberts/Ellie Savage, Fairview def. Gina Buongiorno/Rita Rochelle, Doherty, 6-3, 6-0; Natalie Sloboth/Elizabeth Palmer, Arapahoe def. Jackie Bodwin/Erin Daniel, Rock Canyon, 7-5, 6-4; Emma Houghton/Erica Wiley, Fossil Ridge def. Payton Staats/Jessi Smith, Grand Junction, 6-0, 4-6, 6-0; Kat Geisler/Rachel Discoll, Central (G.J.) def. Maya Johnson/Kaitlin Marler, Eaglecrest, 6-2, 6-3.
No. 2 doubles — Jenna Alvarez/Kendall Moore, Chatfield def. Peyton Pendleton/Katy Cohen, Heritage, 6-1, 6-4; Alyssa Lowe/Madison Smith, Ponderosa def. Haley Crews/Lydia Supe, Fossil Ridge, 6-7 (7), 6-3, 7-5; Bianca Urness/Maddie Darre, Denver East def. Priya Keller/Jadie Weideman, Ralston Valley, 6-4, 6-1; Tara Minatta/Mari Dudek, Mountain Vista def. Disha Mishra/Megan Atkin, Legacy, 6-3, 6-2; Ellen Snare/Kai'lee Miles, Lakewood def. Melissa Shambach/Carly Matheson, Pine Creek, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5; Angie Cai/Julia Combs, Fairview def. Mia Maynard/Katie Wood, Fruita Monument, 6-4, 6-1; Allison Murphy/Emily Wilkens, Cherry Creek def. Laura Allen/Eva Licht, Doherty, 6-0, 6-3; Olivia Brohl/Ila Farhang, Grandview def. Mikayla Dudek/Sara Mantz, Monarch, 6-2, 6-2.
No. 3 doubles — Gianna Neathammer/Johanna Landmark, Lakewood def. Jenna Lowe/Anna Armstrong, Ponderosa, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3; Rachael Reed/Lauren Cherrey, Chatfield def. Caroline Danos/Dailey Solomon, Cherry Creek, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3; Sophie Guzak/Ellie Behnke, ThunderRidge def. Tenley Norton/Amy Want, Pine Creek, 6-2, 7-5; Erinn Hogan/Lindsey Noble, Fossil Ridge def. FrancescaBellibi/Mackenzy Pedrie, Regis Jesuit, 6-3, 6-1; Haley Weinstein/Kylie Feliciano, Fairview def. Vanessa Parsons/Jordan Berdnt, Columbine, 6-1, 6-1; Yehna Bendul/Rachel Cullop, Grandview def. Isa Kohls/Becca Halberg, Fruita Monument, 6-1, 6-1; Kate Wulf/Kelly Wulf, Denver East def. Olivia Thero/Asmita Jha, Poudre, 6-1, 6-3; Olivia Woods/Libby Stroup, Heritage def. Sami Bheemireddy/Amy Zhong, Mountain Vista, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
No. 4 doubles — Claire Steffe/Sara Stavaski, Rock Canyon def. Katerina Kortusova/Caitlin Quirk, Chatfield, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-2; Clare Lupo/Denali Pinto, Fairview def. Racheal Rupprecht/Eleana Welsh, Grandview, 6-3, 7-5; Gabby Gordon/Sam Baker, Ralston Valley def. Kim Collamore/Cambri Can Tassell, Fossil Ridge, 6-4, 0-6, 7-6 (3); Megan Stout/Kaylee Moore, Ponderosa def. Amanda Blanco/Amber Skillicorn, Fruita Monument, 6-0, 6-1; Anastasia Outekhine/Logan Goetz, Heritage, 6-4, 6-3; Hunter Ernest/Hannah Smith, Mountain Vista def. Cara Spencer/Shaynie Segal, Pine Creek, 6-4, 6-4; Wendy Yan/Grace Shepard, Cherry Creek def. Allie Choe/Caitlin Willner, ThunderRidge, 3-6, 6-1, 6-0; Emma Kirby/Rebecca Kirby, Poudre def. Sydney Coen/Logan Baumberger, Coronado, 6-1, 6-1.
No. 1 singles — Son, Cherry Creek def. Fleming, Fruita Monument, 6-2, 7-5; Ecton, Poudre def. Kirby, Mountain Range, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2; Castelino, Fairview def. Lindell, Ponderosa, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3; Zhong, Mountain Vista def. Pagat, Fossil Ridge, 6-0, 6-1 .
No. 2 singles — Fabiano, Poudre def. Hildenbrand, Legend, 6-2, 6-4; Munson, Fairview def. Phan, Mountain Range, 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-3; Handler, Cherry Creek def. Schilling, Heritage, 6-1, 6-0; Lavallee, Mountain Vista def. Teslow, Fossil Ridge, 6-0, 6-1.
No. 3 singles — Pearson, Fairview def. Manzanares, Grand Junction, 6-2, 6-0; Thomas, Heritage def. Ecton, Poudre, 6-3, 3-3 (ret.); Allen, Mountain Vista def. Williams, Arapahoe, 6-1, 6-0; Garud, Cherry Creek def. Koronich, Fossil Ridge, 6-1, 6-1.
No. 1 doubles — Mackenzie/Fernley, Cherry Creek def. Grote/Begler, Mountain Vista, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2; Waite/Barker, Ponderosa def. McLeod/Jackson, Heritage, 6-1, 6-4; Sloboth/Palmer, Arapahoe def. Roberts/Savage, 7-6 (3), 7-5; Houghton/Wiley, Fossil Ridge def. Geisler/Driscoll, Central (G.J.), 6-2, 6-2.
No. 2 doubles — Alvarez/Moore, Chatfield def. Lowe/Smith, Ponderosa, 6-4, 7-5; Urness/Darre, Denver East def. Minatta/Dudek, Mountain Vista, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4; Cai/Combs, Fairview def. Snare/Miles, Lakewood, 6-0, 6-4; Murphy/Wilkens, Cherry Creek def. Brohl/Farhang, Grandview, 6-3, 6-2.
No. 3 doubles — Reed/Cherrey, Chatfield def. Neathammer/Landmark, Lakewood, 6-4, 6-2; Hogan/Noble, Fossil Ridge def. Guzak/Behnke, ThunderRidge, 6-0, 6-1; Weinstein/Feliciano, Fairview def. Bendul/Cullop, Grandview, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4; Wulf/Wulf, Denver East def. Woods/Stroup, Heritage, 6-4, 6-4.
No. 4 doubles — Lupo/Pinto, Fairview def. Steffe/Stavaski, Rocky Canyon, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0; Gordon/Baker, Ralston Valley def. Stout/Moore, Ponderosa, 6-3, 7-5; ; Ernest/Smith, Mountain Vista def. Outekhine/Goetz, Heritage, 6-4, 6-2; Yan/Shepard Cherry Creek def. Kirby/Kirby Poudre, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.