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Girls tennis: Centaurus’ Gee-Taylor chasing down first regional crown

BROOMFIELD — While the snow has frustrated many sports this spring, the early cold and wet season might have boosted one athlete.

Entering her third straight regional championship Friday, Glenna Gee-Taylor feels more confident than ever about her chances at capturing her first title. What has Centaurus’ No. 1 singles player brimming with optimism is how the recent blizzards have muddled her schedule.

While Jack Frost has thwarted many athletic events, he set up a perfect prelude for Gee-Taylor’s run to the Class 4A Region 5 championship.

“I train year-round, so I don’t get as many tournaments as the other girls,” said the junior, who won her opening two matches Thursday in straight sets. “But with as much as we’ve been playing as of late — due to the snow — I’m really confident.”

Gee-Taylor faces familiar competition in her attempt at nailing down her first championship. She squares off with Broomfield’s Dayna DeMeritte at 9 a.m., at the Broomfield Swim and Tennis Club. DeMeritte is a player the Warrior has never lost to, and Gee-Taylor won’t be the only Centaurus player lighting up singles.

The Warriors also advanced Annie Fernandez at No. 2 singles and barely missed moving Lynn Daniels to the finals after the No. 3 player’s three-and-a-half hour semifinals match Thursday.

Broomfield once again enters the second day of the tournament as the team to beat. The defending regional champion had all but its No. 2 singles player advance to the finals. But the team has its work cut out for it having to face its closest competition — Longmont — in a number of matches.

“I like our chances in retaining our crown,” Broomfield coach Justin Dilts said. “But we understand it’s going to be a head-to-head dual.”

The Trojans edged Broomfield in the regular season. And while admitting the team faces a tall task, Michael Merz believes if Longmont wins its head-to-head matches with the Eagles at No. 1, 2 and 4 doubles the team might create a winning margin.

“Not moving our No. 1 singles to the championship really hurt, because that represents a lot of points,” said the Longmont coach, who has five positions in the finals. “But I think we have enough to do it.”

For at least one of Longmont’s doubles teams, there is plenty of motivation to win Friday regardless of who they face. After rallying in playbacks a year ago only to get knocked out, No. 1 doubles team Maddie Precht and Kelle Kloster are certain this is their year.

“We’re really motivated,” Precht said. “We have wanted this for three years and we’re just going to go after it.”

Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.