LAFAYETTE — Perseverance was the name of the game for everyone on Saturday at the Centaurus Invitational.

Mother Nature dictated a majority of the specifics, causing a couple of teams to bow out before play -- which was scheduled to start at 8 a.m. -- finally got underway just before noon.

Those that stuck around were rewarded with not only what turned out to be a magnificent day, but equally good tennis across the board.

The two biggest beneficiaries of the day were Dawson and Boulder, which turned the tournament into basically their second dual of the season.

The Mustangs, by virtue of victories at No. 2 and 3 singles as well as the same positions at doubles, took home the team title.

"It was great day and this is a great way to end it," said Dawson coach Kathy Benninghoff, whose team gathered at the school at 6:30 a.m. "We had some soft spots today, but we had some great spots and it was just enough to win."

Dawson, which will be a part of the new Class 3A tournament field next month in Greeley, is beginning to hit their stride team-wise and Saturday's effort will go a long way into building confidence going forward not only into the regional and state tournament, but also in next week's dual against 3A favorites Colorado Academy.

"I feel really good about where we are and I feel like we can go in to (Colorado Academy) and have a super competitive match," Benninghoff said. "We'd like to win it, and we feel like we can make some noise."


Especially on the doubles side, where the Mustangs have been strong for years.

On Saturday, in addition to straight set singles wins for Bridget Bell (No. 2) and Maggie Berry (No. 3), Dawson had to grind out it's two doubles wins.

The No. 2 team of Allie Blank and Isabelle Shehan split sets with the Boulder tandem of Fiona Quinn and Melissa Hornung before out-lasting them 6-3 in the third set, which drew a big crowd at Court 8.

It wasn't all bad news for Boulder, which has shown steady improvement since the beginning of the season when head coach Elizebth Korevaar wasn't sure what the Panthers truly had in terms of talent.

Her No. 1 doubles team of Katherine Lapp and Ellie Johnson, as well as her No. 4 tandem of Keeva Donohue and Emily Paul, rolled to a straight set victory in the finals.

Panthers freshman No. 1 Gigi Jensen and Dawson senior Isha Banjeree played an epic three set match in the semifinals that went to Jensen 6-2 in the third.

Jensen didn't get to celebrate too long, before she had to take the court against Sterling's Jenna Maxwell.

"I think physically I am more tired than I am mentally, especially with this heat," said Jensen, who after her 6-2, 6-4 defeat had logged over 34,000 steps on her fitness tracker. "I knew I had to keep myself afloat to play that match.

"I feel good about where I am (at this point in the season) considering everything is still so new. This was an eye-opener today that even if you're tired, they are going to make you run if you want to or not and you have to be able to sustain a lot to get what you want."

Jon Yunt: or


At Centaurus

Championship matches

Singles — 1. Jenna Maxwell, Sterling def. Gigi Jensen, Boulder, 6-2, 6-4; 2. Bridget Bell, Dawson def. Grace Geer, Boulder, 6-2, 6-2; 3. Maggie Berry, Dawson def. Gwen Lohmann, Boulder, 7-5, 6-0.

Doubles — 1. Katherine Lapp/Ellie Johnson, Boulder def. Ellie Beeck/Alexa Rinard, 6-2, 7-6 (1); 2. Allie Blank/Isabelle Shehan, Dawson def. Fiona Quinn/Melissa Hornung, Boulder, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-3; 3. Aria Barbour/Anika Banjeree, Dawson def. Sally Johnson/Maddie Hawk, Boulder, 7-5, 5-1 (injury); 4. Keeva Donohue/Emily Paul, Boulder def. Skylar Schutter/Nicole Hilton, 6-2, 7-5.