BOULDER — With how tough the 4A Region 5 tennis tournament expected to be in 2015, Niwot High senior Jami Albert was a little worried that she might not get to finish out her final season of prep tennis the way she wanted.
Albert wanted her prep career to end at the 4A state tournament, which meant she had to place in the top two at Thursday’s loaded 13-team regional championship. To be safe, and to ensure one last state tournament berth, Albert won her No. 3 singles division.
In the No. 3 singles championship match at the University of Colorado’s South Campus tennis courts, Albert defeated Standley Lake’s Sarah Cleveland 6-0, 6-0.
“I’m really excited,” Albert said. “It’s obviously a tougher region than we faced last year but it was great to pull through. I’m happy to be able to go and to share the experience with my team. It’s always a great experience. I’m hoping to go a little further than I did last year so we’ll see how it goes.”
As a junior last season, Albert placed fifth at No. 3 singles. In her bid to top that finish this year, Albert will be joined by a host of her Niwot teammates, who all pitched in to edge Holy Family by six points for the 4A Region 5 team title on Thursday.
Sweeping the singles finals, Niwot freshman Julia Pentz defeated Holy Family’s Maddie Farver, 6-2, 6-2 in the No. 1 singles finals and fellow freshman Taylor Thulson defeated Holy Family’s Tessa Nguyen, 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 2 singles finals.
In the No. 1 doubles championship, Niwot’s Maura Derr and Isabelle Stafford defeated Longmont’s Savana Dehning and Cynthia Mosness, 6-1,7-5. Niwot’s No. 2 doubles Pair, Janie Sieben and Emma Lerner, lost 6-3, 6-4 in the final to Holy Family’s Lyndsey Bovine and Paige Giltner but still qualified for the state tournament.
Niwot’s No. 3 doubles pair, Sophie Williams and Amanda Duquette, took the longer route to the state tournament but still qualified. Williams and Duquette placed third but since they had not lost to the second-place pair were awarded a playback match to challenge the second-place team for its state tournament berth. In that playback match, Williams and Duquette defeated Dawson School’s Alli Blank and Maddie Fagundo 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
After placing fourth at state last season, Niwot’s young group was happy to escape this year’s more difficult region with six out of its seven ladder spots qualified for the big dance.
“It was a great tournament and a tougher region by far,” Niwot head coach Aimee Irwin said. “Holy Family and Dawson are tough. That definitely made regionals a much bigger deal this year and it was pretty stressful. Ultimately, I think that’s good and it should prepare us better for state.”
Qualifying five of its seven ladder spots, Holy Family had a similarly pleasant output at the two-day regional tournament. Farver and Nguyen both qualified at their respective singles spots, as did Bovine and Giltner at No. 2 doubles.
At No. 3 doubles, Holy Family’s Ciara Donovan and Kristen Holmes defeated Dawson’s Blank and Fagundo 6-3, 6-2 to win the regional title. Also winning a regional title, Holy Family’s No. 4 doubles pair Brianna Bartlett and An Tran defeated Dawson’s Quin Ramos and Alexa Rinard 6-2, 6-0 in the championship match to qualify.
“We battled hard all season and we’ve come a long way to put our best teams on the court the past two days,” Holy Family head coach Brittany Storgaard said. “We won with our hard because we played some tight matches against some really good teams. It’s also the first time we can remember, at least in the last decade, that we’ve qualified a No. 1 singles player for state.”
Third in the team scoring, Dawson qualified Ramos and Rinard for state.
For Longmont, which placed fourth as team, Mosness and Dehning earned a spot in the 4A No. 1 doubles state tournament bracket.
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Class 4A Region 5 tournament
At University of Colorado South Campus courts
Team scores — Niwot 82, Holy Family 76, Dawson 64, Longmont 31, Silver Creek 20, Standley Lake 15, Erie 10, Centaurus 4, Peak to Peak 4, Berthoud 3, Frederick 1, Skyview 1, Skyline 0.
Singles — 1. Julia Pentz, Niwot, def. Maddie Farver, Holy Family, 6-2, 6-2; 2. Taylor Thulson, Niwot, def. Tessa Nguyen, Holy Family, 6-1, 6-2; 3. Jami Albert, Niwot, def. Sarah Cleveland, Standley Lake, 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles — 1. Maura Derr/Isabelle Stafford, Niwot, def. Savana Dehning/Cynthia Mosness, Longmont, 6-1, 7-5; 2. Lynsey Bovine/Paige Giltner, Holy Family, def. Emma Lerner/Janie Sieben, Niwot, 6-3, 6-4; 3. Ciara Donovan/Kristen Holmes, Holy Family, def. Alli Blank/Maddie Fagundo, Dawson, 6-3, 6-2; 4. Brianna Bartlett/An Tran, Holy Family, def. Quin Ramos/Alexa Rinard, Dawson, 6-2, 6-0.
Playback matches for state qualifying
Doubles — 3. Sophie Williams/Amanda Duquette, Niwot, def. Alli Blank/Maddie Fagundo, Dawson, 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.