PUEBLO - An Tran and Brianna Bartlett fell short of winning a doubles tennis title in 2015. They got a second chance this year.
But the results were the same as the Holy Family duo fell to the Cheyenne Mountain No. 3 doubles team of Tatumn Mika and Ariana Arenson 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 to place second. Cheyenne Mountain won the Class 4A team state championship, scoring 85 points on the weekend.
The Tigers finished the weekend with 16 points, good for seventh place. Niwot came in right behind them with 14.
"There's definitely a talk of Cheyenne Mountain being very good," Bartlett said. "We were just trying to stay positive and know that they're just girls too."
It may have taken some time to get over the initial mental hurdle of facing the Indians, who are now winners of eight-consecutive championships.
The Tigers dropped the first set and knew that they had to refocus and just understand that they got to the finals because they were playing the game a very high level all weekend.
"We had to stay focused and follow basic steps that our coach gave us," Tran said. "It was a solid foundation that helped us stay in it."
Bartlett and Tran bounced back in the second set and took it, to keep their championship hopes alive and force a third and deciding set.
It was at that moment that Tigers coach Brittany Storgaard saw a confident team that knew it could keep pace with the Indians.
"They just needed to believe that they could play with these (girls)," Storgaard said. "We gave them three simple things: focus on ground strokes in, move your feet, hit some net balls. The moment they started hitting those ground stokes they knew they were just as good and deserved to be here."
But whatever confidence the Tigers found in the second set, the Indians were able to match in the third. They jumped out to a quick lead in the third and never looked back.
For Tran and Bartlett, it's the second time that they have come away with a second-place. Coming off last year's loss, they put a lot of emphasis on their mental game this year. Going into the finals against a heavy favorite in Cheyenne Mountain, they wanted to let talent determine the outcome rather than emotion.
"I don't think our problem was mental," Tran said. "They're just a really good team."
The Tigers No. 1 doubles team of Paige Giltner and Lindsey Bouine lost their playback match 7-6, 6-2 to Eaton's Courtney Leafgren and Emily Harper to finish fourth.
In the No. 2 singles playback bracket, Niwot's Taylor Thulson beat Colorado Academy's Savannah Mease 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to claim third. Dawson School's No. 4 doubles team of Liv Cramer and Nicole Hilton finished fourth with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 loss D'Evelyn's Claire Jones and Abby Molnar.
Class 4A state championships
At Pueblo City Park
Team scores — Cheyenne Mountain 85, Kent Denver 62, Discovery Canyon 32, Pueblo West 30, Colorado Academy 21, Holy Family 16, D'Evelyn 16, Niwot 14, Palmer Ridge 11, Eaton 10, Dawson School 4, Peak to Peak 1, Longmont 0.
Singles — 1. Schaffer, Kent Denver def. Schoenbeck, Pueblo West 6-4, 6-2; 2. Kuntzelman, Discovery Canyon def. Adamczyk, Cheyenn Mountain 6-3, 1-6, 7-6; 3. Bronsdon, Kent Denver def. McCarthy, Pueblo West 7-5, 7-6.
Doubles — 1. Ahrendsen/Arenson, Cheyenne Mountain def. Kearney/Schlatter, Kent Denver 6-3, 6-2; 2. Geisz/Metz, Cheyenne Mountain def. Casey/Jones, Discovery Canyon 6-2, 6-2; 3. Mika/Arenson, Cheyenne Mountain def. Tran/Bartlett, Holy Family 6-3, 3-6, 6-2; 4. Wallace/Heinicke, Cheyenne Mountain def. Hayes/Doyle, Kent Denver 7-6, 7-6.
Dawson School results
No. 4 Doubles - Claire Jones/Abby Molnar (Dawson School) def. Liv Cramer/Nicole Hilton 6-3 3-6 7-6.
Holy Family results
No. 1 Doubles - Courtney Leafgren/Emily Harper (Eaton) def. Paige Giltner/Lindsey Bouine 7-6 6-2.
No. 3 Doubles - Tatumn Mika/Ariana Arenson (Cheyenne Mountain) def. An Tran/Brianna Bartlett 6-3 3-6 6-2.
No. 2 Singles -Taylor Thulson def. Savannah Mease (Colorado Academy) 4-6 6-3 6-3.