BOULDER — Those that know Seraphin Castelino best, know better.

But to the casual observer the Fairview freshman is as cool as a cucumber on the court, dispatching of foes in the most methodical fashion.

It's like the duck on the pond, that glides across the top of the water so serenely, but is paddling like crazy underneath.

"Oh no, she definitely gets nervous," Fairview coach Susan Stensrud said. "She still a freshman and she had a lot of matches where she was really nervous, but she holds it in pretty well ... you've got to be right next to her to see it."

Castelino lost just once all season, to Mountain Range's semifinalist Kristen Kirby, and on championship Saturday at Gates Tennis Center she upended Front Range League foe Ky Ecton of Poudre for the Class 5A No. 1 singles title. In doing so, she earned the Player of the Year honors.

With plenty of energy still in the tank, despite getting over a nasty cold that saw her temperature spike to 102 degrees the day before the tournament, Castelino made it look relatively easy against Ecton, winning in straight sets 6-4, 6-1.

Both players played three set matches in the quarters and the semifinals, but it can be argued that Ecton, whom Castelino had beaten twice already heading in to the state tournament, extended herself a little more having to take out Kirby and Cherry Creek's Gloria Son along the way.


"She played really well against Gloria, so I wasn't expecting her to play bad, I was still expecting her best," said Castelino, whose brother Ignatius won the No. 1 singles title for Fairview in the fall of 2014. "I do get nervous. Sometimes it at the beginning, sometimes at the end, but in the middle, I'm pretty calm."

Stensrud, who refers to Castelino as a freight train for her slow starts and momentum gaining style of play, dropped her first set in the semifinals to Mountain Vista's Casey Zhong — whose all-out style of play is the polar opposite of Castelino's — and then beat her 6-1, 6-1 in the final two sets.

The goal now is to simply get better over the coming years, and with a game that doesn't have too many flaws, it took her some time to think about what would make her game grow.

"The mental aspects of my game can always get better," she said after some pondering. "My serve can definitely get better."

Those are just a few of the aspects that Stensrud, the Coach of the Year, is thrilled about having a chance to mold — along with No. 3 singles freshman champion Sophie Pearson — in the coming seasons.

"I think we are going to have an excellent team next year with her and Sophie," said Stensrud, whose team became the first team in 20 years to beat Cherry Creek at the 5A state tournament. "We're going to be tough and they are just going to get better and better."

Jon Yunt: or