PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bridget Bell, So., Dawson: The reigning BoCoPreps.com Player of the Year won a state title last year at No. 2 singles for the Mustangs.

Alexis Bernthal, Fairview, Fr.: One of two incoming freshman that you should expect to hear a lot from on top of the Knights ladder this season.

Julia Giltner, Sr., Holy Family: The Tigers' veteran heads up a roster that is strong from top to bottom.

Ana Horvath, Sr., Broomfield: Qualified for state last year at No. 1 singles and has visions of going a little deeper in the bracket this time around.

Broomfield senior Ana Horvath qualified for state at No. 1 singles last season.
Broomfield senior Ana Horvath qualified for state at No. 1 singles last season. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Gigi Jensen, So., Boulder: The Panthers top player got her feet wet at No. 1 singles last year and will look to make it to Gates Tennis Center in May.

Lucy Lu, Fr., Niwot: Quite possibly one of the best players in the state, she is on everyone's radar to make some serious noise for the Cougars when they head to Pueblo in May.

Rebecca Pavot, So., Longmont: Has all the talent, and will have to work hard to come out of what is becoming a very tough regional tournament if she wants to get back to state.

Julia Pentz, Sr., Niwot: Will move from No. 2 to No. 3 singles with a fresh attitude towards helping the Cougars achieve their ultimate goal at state.


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Trini Somasundaram, Jr., Peak to Peak: Has had a whole year to stew on a tough first round loss at state last year.

Trisha Somasundaram, Jr., Peak to Peak: Pushed the eventual 3A No. 1 singles champion to three sets in the semifinals last year, which means she knows she can compete.

Natalie Stone, Fairview, Fr.: Oh look, another talented freshman near the top of the Knights roster. Like Bernthal, her impact will be felt.

Taylor Thulson, Sr., Niwot: Like Pentz, moves down a spot on the Cougars ladder to No. 2 singles. She will be a serious contender for a state title at that position.

 

POSTSEASON INFORMATION

Note: Regional tournaments must be completed by May 5. In Class 5A, regional assignments are based on league finish.

4A REGION 5 — At Niwot. Local teams: Centaurus, Longmont, Niwot, Silver Creek, Skyline.

CLASS 3A REGION 1 — At Colorado Academy. Local team: Peak to Peak.

CLASS 3A REGION 2 — At St. Mary's Academy. Local team: Holy Family.

Holy Family’s Julia Giltner returns to anchor the Tigers lineup.
Holy Family's Julia Giltner returns to anchor the Tigers lineup. (file photo / BoCoPreps.com)

CLASS 3A REGION 3 — At D'Evelyn. Local team: Prospect Ridge

CLASS 3A REGION 5 — At Erie. Local teams: Dawson, Erie, Frederick, Mead.

5A STATE TOURNAMENT: May 10-12 at Gates Tennis Center, Denver.

4A STATE TOURNAMENT: May 10-12 at Pueblo City Park, Pueblo.

3A STATE TOURNAMENT: May 10-12 at Centennial Courts, Greeley.

 

 

TEAM-BY-TEAM OUTLOOK

BOULDER PANTHERS

Coach: Elizabeth Korevaar (4th season).

Last year: Finished 14th at Class 5A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Keeva Donohue (Jr., No. 4 doubles); Emily Paul (Jr., No. 4 doubles).

Others to watch: Grace Geer (So.); Melissa Hornung (So.); Gigi Jensen (So.); Saly Johnson (So.); Katherine Lapp (Sr.); Cecily Quinn (Sr.); Fiona Quinn (Jr.).

Outlook: The Panthers will be competitive as usual and will hopefully build on the fact that Donohue and Paul made it to Saturday of the state tournament and placed third overall. They have experience at the top of the lineup in Jensen and Geer, who both played the top spots last year, and plenty of depth to fill out a improving roster.

 

BROOMFIELD EAGLES

Coach: Jim Vogel (1st season).

Dawson sophomore Bridget Bell is back after winning a state title at No. 2 singles last season.
Dawson sophomore Bridget Bell is back after winning a state title at No. 2 singles last season. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

Last year: Second place in regionals; Tied for 18th at Class 5A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Olivia Belton (Jr., No. 1 doubles); Sydnie Ho (Sr., No. 1 doubles); Allyson Horvath (Jr., No. 3 singles); Ellie Penner (Jr., No. 3 doubles); Meghan Roylance (Jr., No. 3 doubles).

Others to watch: Katie Herby (Sr.); Anna Horvath (Sr.).

Outlook: Vogel, who coached the boys this past fall, takes over a girls team that is coming off a successful season in which they had their highest regional placing since becoming a 5A team. Expectations are high within their camp, but as Vogel says: "We have a ton of work to do as a team this season, our primary goal is to qualify our entire team for state."

 

CENTAURUS WARRIORS

Coach: Julie Daniel (2nd season).

Last year: Fourth place in regionals; Did not score at Class 4A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Marisa Griffith (Sr.); Jaki Maj (Sr.); Mia Malik (Sr.); Yue Teng (12).

Outlook: Said Daniel: "Our senior leadership is a driving force that propels our players to new levels of achievement as the Centaurus program continues to develop depth and competitive prowess. The team enjoys playing tennis together during the off-season, and our annual summer camp with clinicians Alan and Chad Tsuda from Rich's Tennis School really helps our team further develop fundamentals and achieve improvement goals. Most of all, this is a team that enjoys the fun of a competition that is intense and honorably played."

 

DAWSON SCHOOL MUSTANGS

Coach: Kathy Benninghoff (10th season).

Last year: Regional champions; Tied for 2nd at Class 3A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Aria Barbour (So.); Bridget Bell (So.); Allie Blank (Sr.); Alexa Rinard (Sr.); Quin Ramos (Sr.); Isabelle Shehan (Sr.).

Others to watch: Anika Banerjee (So.); Sarah Devereux (Jr.); Julia Garfinkel (Jr.).

Outlook: According to Benninghoff: "Dawson has depth, a strong work ethic, and a desire to meet or exceed its runner-up finish at the state tourney last year. Led by four stalwart seniors, the team looks to lean on their experience as they guide new, talented varsity players to a great season."

 

ERIE TIGERS

Coach: Beth Silkensen (1st season).

Last year: Fourth place in regionals; Did not score at Class 3A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Karelly Caraballo (Jr.); Megan Hakes (Sr.); Aliyah Harrison (Sr.); Karis Moore (Jr.).

Outlook: The Tigers will have an experienced team this year with many returning juniors and seniors. Goals include a higher finish at regionals and qualifying a couple of veteran players for state.

 

FAIRVIEW KNIGHTS

Coach: Susan Stensrud (14th season).

Last year: Regional champions; Finished seventh at Class 5A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Emily Bechtel (Sr., No. 3 doubles); Kylie Feliciano (Sr., No. 1 doubles); Cassie Harper (Jr., No. 3 doubles); Rachel Heilbronner (Sr., No. 1 doubles); Katie Hirasaki (Sr., No. 2 doubles); Joy Ma (So., No. 4 doubles); Denali Pinto (Sr., No. 2 doubles).

Others to watch: Alexis Bernthal (Fr.); Natalie Stone (Fr.).

Outlook: Said Stensrud: "I'm very excited about the 2018 season, as we will be fielding a very experienced, tough and hard working team of girls. We have two returning state champions, two new incredibly talented freshmen, and the rest of the team is filled with seasoned veterans. With experience, depth and talent our goal is to win state this year."

 

FREDERICK WARRIORS

Coach: Mark Allen (1st season).

Last year: Sixth place in regionals; Did not score at Class 3A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Jenny Castrejon (Sr.); Jessica Kelley (Jr.); Ana Lowe (Sr.); Chasen Marinoff (Jr.); Mari Orozco (Sr.).

Outlook: Said Allen, who takes over a program that is growing in popularity at Frederick: "It looks like we will have around 25-30 girls playing and the vibe around the school is that all the girls are really excited for the season. I think we have some serious talent on this team and since this team has only ever won three total matches in three years my expectations are through the roof. The girls know what I expect everyday and that we will be winners but that takes time and dedication. I think we will surprise teams this year and ultimately send girls to state. This year is just the beginning of future success at Frederick."

 

HOLY FAMILY TIGERS

Coach: Brittany Storgaard (6th season).

Last year: Regional champions; Finished 4th at Class 3A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Ciara Donovan (Sr.); Julia Giltner (Sr., No. 1 singles); Paige Giltner (Sr. No. 2 singles); Lexi Licata (Jr., doubles); Caroline Smolky (Jr., doubles); An Tran (Sr.).

Others to watch: Lindsey Bartoletta (Fr.); Emily Lindoerfer (Fr.); Arianna Rabor (Sr.); Sophie Williams (Sr.).

Outlook: Said Storgaard, whose team was in the mix last year at state and crowned its first champions: "We are excited for another shot at the 3A state title with the top half of our team returning for their final season as senior leaders. We also had a lot of change over with the other half of our team, so we're looking for great things to come from our two senior transfers as well as a strong group of incoming freshmen. It will be a year of both beginnings and ends: our seniors will be looking to solidify their legacy after four strong years and our incoming players will be looking to start theirs off with a bang."

 

LEGACY LIGHTNING

Coach: Vernon Lobato (1st season).

Last year: Fourth place at regionals; Did not score at Class 5A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Still working on it with new coach.

Outlook: Said Lobato: "Returning eight starters (four seniors) with a few promising newcomers that will likely be in our varsity line up. As a team we are expecting a much stronger season than last year. Overall, we are a very young team and need to gain experience. We aspire to return to the postseason."

 

LONGMONT TROJANS

Coach: Michael Merz (15th season).

Last year: Second place at regionals; Tied for 17th at Class 4A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Jesse Bartel (So.); Eva D'Epagnier (Sr.); Madison Jayne (Sr.); Taylor Merz (Jr.); Rebecca Pavot (So.); Amber Weston (So.).

Others to watch: Brooke Johnson (Sr.); Ana McConahy (Jr.).

Outlook: Merz returns to the Trojans after a one-year hiatus and takes over a team that has incredible depth and expectations after qualifying a number of doubles team last year. They believe they have a chance to make some noise in Pueblo come May.

 

MEAD MAVERICKS

Coach: Ben Holskin (2nd season).

Last year: Second place at regionals; Tied for 13th at Class 3A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Jill Cowley (So.); Emma Drouhard (Sr.); Haley Vavla (Sr.).

Others to watch: Sydney Bell (So.); Avery Kratochvil (So.); Campbell Parsons (Fr.); Kylie Zanini (Fr.).

Outlook: Said Holskin, whose team scored their first ever points at a state tournament last year in Greeley: "Other than the three returning state qualifiers, this is an inexperienced team, so I expect there will be some rough patches. However, we had some solid indoor court time during the winter so we won't be starting from square one in terms of technique and fundamentals. The focus is going to be more on strategy, match play and getting mentally tough to compete with older and more experienced players."

 

MONARCH COYOTES

Coach: Mark Reuter (3rd season).

Last year: Third place at regionals; Did not score at Class 5A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Laura Cook (Jr., No. 2 doubles); Savannah Cook (Jr., No. 2 doubles); Emma Lookner (So., No. 1 doubles)

Others to watch: Ginger Harrington (So.); Natalie Sprenger (Fr.); Megan Volpe (Jr); Marina Youngdahl (Fr.).

Outlook: The Coyotes are young but experienced with seven returning players, and no seniors. Couple that with two incoming freshman who will vie for singles, and Monarch has a lot to be excited about. Said Reuter: "With hard work and determination, we have set a goal to compete at state."

 

NIWOT COUGARS

Coach: Aimee Keronen (6th season).

Last year: Regional champion; Finished 8th at Class 4A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Rachel Drake (Jr.); Erin O'Neill (Sr.); Julia Pentz (Sr., singles); Lily Sieban (So.); Taylor Thulson (Sr., singles); Madee Trank-Greene (So.); Tehnley White (So.).

Others to watch: Lucy Lu (Fr.).

Outlook: Simply put, the Cougars are loaded and will find out a lot about themselves in their first dual of the season against  Class 3A runners-up Colorado Academy next Tuesday. Lu-Thulson-Pentz is as good a 1-2-3 as you are going to find in Class 4A and throw in Drake (who will likely land at No. 1 doubles) and you have all the makings of something very special at Niwot.

 

PEAK TO PEAK PUMAS

Coach: Peter Nestel (1st season).

Last year: Third place at regionals; Tied for 13th at Class 3A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Trini Somasundaram (Jr., No. 2 Singles); Trisha Somasundaram (Jr., No. 1 singles).

Others to watch: Isabella Brakhage (Fr.); Naomi Burns (Jr.); Paige Burns (So.); Claire Franz (Jr.); Millie Keogh (Fr.); Renesa Khanna (So.); Madison Lin (Fr.); Paige McSavaney (So.); Amber Sharma (Sr.); Tiffany Tran (Fr.).

Outlook: The Somasundaram twins have been stalwarts at the top of the Pumas line-up for the past two seasons. Once again, they hope their success will have a trickle down affect on the rest of the team that is under new leadership this year in Nestel.

 

PROSPECT RIDGE ACADEMY MINERS

Coach: Ari Finkelstein (2nd season).

Last year: Fifth place at regionals; Did not score at Class 3A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Kate Diamond (Jr., transferred from Holy Family).

Others to watch: Chimena Butler (Jr.); Morgan Butler (Jr.); Anna Hojel (Jr.); Aly Miller (Jr.); Ariana Vigil (Jr.).

Outlook: Said Finkelstein, whose team is in its second year competing in the Metropolitan League: "We hope to have a deeper varsity team that can compete with some of these top schools more closely. Our rising crop of upperclassmen should help lead us to some hard-fought victories, and we hope to grow as a team and have a strong showing at regionals."

 

SILVER CREEK RAPTORS

Coach: Beth Cerrone (2nd season).

Last year: Fourth place at regionals; Did not score at Class 4A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Sarah Bedell (Sr.); Lexi Duley (Sr.); Kim Fung (Sr.); Jenna Nielson (Sr.); Phoebe Norman (Sr.); Lily Stewart (Jr.).

Outlook: Said Cerrone: "We have a stellar group of upperclassmen returning this year to provide leadership. Our goal is to continue to grow and improve from last year. We look forward to strategic, competitive play throughout the season. Our goal is to send players to Pueblo this year."

 

SKYLINE FALCONS

Coach: Phil Astras (2nd season).

Last year: Third place at regionals; Did not score at Class 4A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Andrea Rauschmayer (Sr.); Savannah Rivera (Sr.); Shelby Roberts (Jr.).

Outlook: Said Astras: "We are a young team overall, but Shelby Roberts leads this team after a 3rd place finish at regionals last year. We will be looking to develop our young talent and be competitive at the regional meet."

Jon Yunt: yuntj@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/JonEYunt