LONGMONT — Katherine Lin has figured out the secret to winning on the tennis court.
On Saturday, the Peak to Peak junior continued her hot streak by winning the No. 2 singles title at the Longmont Invitational at Longmont High School.
“I didn’t expect winning so much coming into the season, but I’m just taking it one match at a time and I guess it works,” she said.
Lin improved to 12-0 on the season with her 7-5, 6-2 win over Rachel Grubbs of Steamboat Springs in the finals.
As a team, the Pumas were fourth in the 10-team event. Steamboat Springs won the team title with 56 points, followed by Eaton (52), Doherty (30), Peak to Peak (29) and host Longmont (28).
Peak to Peak was paced by Lin and senior Erica Tran, who won the No. 3 singles title.
Lin got off to a slow start against Grubbs, but then found a groove and coasted to the win.
“I started off really slow, but after a while I caught on to how she played and improved my own strokes, so I got better and I just took it one point at a time,” she said. “I just knew that I had to come out strong and just never give up when I’m down.”
Like Lin, Tran went 3-0 during the tournament. She defeated Ellie Bender of Steamboat Springs 6-0, 6-2 in the finals.
“I think I’m doing really well right now and hoping to improve more and qualify for state,” said Tran, who has lost just once this season.
Longmont sent three doubles teams to the finals, but came away with just one win, at No. 2. That duo, Kayla Pekarek and Olivia Lance, have been getting better throughout the year. They are 8-1 on the season, their only loss coming on Thursday in a dual against Broomfield. They followed that by going 3-0 at this tournament without dropping a set. They lost just 16 games during the two-day event.
“I would just say good teamwork and communication,” Lance said of the pair’s key to success. “We just have fun and we keep each other upbeat. We work well together.”
Facing Steamboat Springs’ Summer Smally and Brooke Metzler, the Longmont pair sputtered early but then rolled to the 6-4, 6-1 win.
“We started out pretty good and then we had a couple of mishaps going on, but we pulled it out and just got focused and played our game,” Pekarek said.
Longmont’s No. 1 doubles team — Maddie Precht and Kelle Kloster — lost in the title match to Eaton’s Maddie Shelton and Kailey Kaiser, 6-2, 6-4.
“Our attitude going into (the finals) was to play every point and want to get better,” Precht said. “They’re definitely the best team we’ve seen so far.”
The Trojans’ No. 4 team — Rebeka Cowley and Ashley Wright — was 11-0 on the season before Saturday’s finals, but lost to Eaton 6-1, 6-2.
Lisa Hug of Skyline finished third at No. 1 singles, while teammate Cindy Davis was fourth at No. 2 singles.
Monarch was led by Julia Gallant, who was fourth at No. 1 singles. The Coyotes’ No. 3 doubles team was third and its No. 4 doubles team was fourth.
With regionals around the corner, all the teams involved got valuable experience.
“The biggest thing is just getting a lot of playing time against good opponents,” Longmont coach Mike Merz said. “That’s just going to make them so much better for regionals.
“I’m glad that we had Steamboat here and Doherty and Eaton. They just made us better and it just shows us that we still have to work hard. I think it’s going to make us want to play better and get better.”
Brian Howell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Longmont H.S.
Team scores — Steamboat Springs 56, Eaton 52, Doherty 30, Peak to Peak 29, Longmont 28, Skyline 16, Monarch 14, Rampart 10, Erie 2, Standley Lake 1.
Singles — 1. Christi Valicenti, Steamboat Springs, def. Reagan Simons, Doherty, 6-3, 6-2; 2. Katherine Lin, Peak to Peak, def. Rachel Grubbs, Steamboat Springs, 7-5, 6-2; 3. Erica Tran, Peak to Peak, def. Ellie Bender, Steamboat Springs, 6-0, 6-2.
Doubles — 1. Maddie Shelton/Kailey Kaiser, Eaton, def. Maddie Precht/Kelle Kloster, Longmont, 6-2, 6-4; 2. Olivia Lance/Kayla Pekarek, Longmont, def. Summer Smally/Brooke Metzler, Steamboat Springs, 6-4, 6-1; 3. April Smallwood/Karen Sieg, Eaton, def. Katie Ross/Katie Spencer, Steamboat Springs, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4; 4. Bailey Naibauer/Katherine Haper, Eaton, def. Rebeka Cowley/Ashley Wright, Longmont, 6-1, 6-2.
Singles — 1. Lisa Hug, Skyline, def. Julia Gallant, Monarch, 6-3, 6-2; 2. Anna Brown, Eaton, def. Cindy Davis, Skyline, 6-4, 6-4; 3. Elise Cimino, Doherty, def. Meagan Ice, Eaton, 6-4, 6-3.
Doubles — 1. Wilson/Waneka, Doherty, def. Lowrie/Diehl, Steamboat Springs, 6-3, 6-0; 2. Carroll/Edens, Eaton, def. Cortez/Hall, Rampart, 6-1, 6-3; 3. Remington/Lofstedt, Monarch, def. DeUmberto/Erler, Rampart, 6-2, 4-6, 10-5; 4. Williams/Larson, Rampart, def. Simon/Madeson, Monarch, 6-3, 7-5.