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PUEBLO — The Niwot High School girls tennis team finally debuted its pair of top-of-the-ladder freshmen at this year’s rain-delayed Class 4A state tournament and neither player failed to live up to expectations.

In fact, No. 1 singles freshman Julia Pentz and No. 2 singles player Amber Thulson each far exceeded the standards for most top-level talent on Monday in Pueblo, let alone what is expected out of even the atypical freshman.

While each advanced to the semifinals of her respective bracket, it was Pentz who also demonstrated a flair for the dramatic with a 2-6, 7-6(9-7), 6-3 victory over Discovery Canyon junior Gabriella Hesse in the quarterfinals.

“I just wasn’t playing my game, I was playing hers,” Pentz said. “I just wanted to play my best and I started doing that in the second set. I’m just glad it’s over with and I can relax now. It was a really exciting day.”

After falling in the first set, Pentz also found herself trailing 6-2 in a second-set tiebreaker. She came back to win the tiebreaker 9-7 and went on to win the decisive third set 6-3.

For a freshman to win back-to-back state tournament matches at No. 1 singles a rarity. To do it despite staring down match point four times is something even Niwot head coach Aimee Irwin hasn’t seen.

“That comeback was the match of the year,” Irwin said. “For a freshman, that’s absolutely unbelievable. She just showed what she’s capable of mentally. She’s never out of a match and that’s only going to help her in the rest of the tournament. Now she’s in a win-win situation against (St. Mary’s Academy’s Alex) Weil, the number one seed.”

Pentz reached the quarterfinals by defeating Lewis-Palmer’s Emma Gaydos 6-2, 7-5 in the first round. Her freshman teammate Thulson beat Valor Christian’s Darby Warburton 6-0, 6-1 in the first round and went on to defeat Holy Family’s Tessa Nguyen in the quarterfinal round.

Niwot’s No. 3 singles player Jami Albert, who placed fourth at No. 3 singles last season, reached the quarterfinals before losing 6-3, 7-5 to Colorado Academy’s Morgan Bullen.

The Niwot No. 1 doubles team of Maura Derr and Isabelle Stafford was a throwback to both players’ freshmen seasons. Playing together at No. 4 doubles in 2012, Derr and Stafford finished runners-up in 4A. On Monday, however, their tournament run hit a setback with a 6-2, 6-3 loss to Valor Christian’s Annie Hertel and Tiffany Parobek in the quarterfinals.

“Our doubles need help tomorrow,” Irwin said. “With our draws, we knew it was going to be tough. If we can get some help from our friends to pull them back through in at least the playbacks.”

Niwot’s No. 2 and No. 3 doubles pairs lost in the first round and neither will get a playback.

It has already been a banner year for the Holy Family girls tennis team and the first day of the Class 4A state tournament didn’t halt the charge on Monday.

For the first time since third-year head coach Brittany Storgaard could figure, the Tigers will be represented among the semifinalists in more than one of the state’s seven state tournament divisions.

“I don’t know about school history but it’s the best showing Holy Family has had a state in at least the last decade,” Storgaard said. “It’s the first time since I’ve been here and since coach (Bob) Wathen has been here, and he’s been here 12 or 13 years, that we’ve had two doubles pairs in the semifinals.”

Those two pairs are No. 2 doubles duo of sophomore Lindsey Bovine and freshman Paige Giltner, and No. 4 doubles pair of junior Brianna Bartlett and freshman An Tran. None of the four players, who combined to go 4-0 on Day 1, had played at the state tournament before Monday.

“It was definitely a hard day and it took a lot of hard work for us to get here,” Bovine said. “We just laid it all out there and just played in the moment.”

Giltner added, “We had nothing to lose so we just tried our hardest.”

In the quarterfinals, Bovine and Giltner defeated Air Academy’s Lauren Lunt and Lauren Agee, 6-4, 6-3, while Bartlett and Tran defeated Pueblo West’s Morgan Blackford and Kyra Jensen, 6-1, 6-2.

Holy Family’s Tessa Nguyen lost in the No. 2 singles quarterfinals, No. 1 singles player Maddie Farver lost in the first round and the No. 3 doubles team lost in the first round. All three are still eligible for playback matches.

Longmont High’s lone entry — No. 1 doubles pair Savana Dehning and Cynthia Mosness lost 6-1, 6-1 in the first round to 2014 team champion Cheyenne Mountain’s Casey Ahrendsen and Ally Arenson. Since Ahrendsen and Arenson are the defending No. 1 doubles champions, chances remain good that they’ll return to the championship match and thus pull Dehning and Mosness through into the consolation bracket.

Dawson School’s Quin Ramos and Alexa Rinard lost 6-3, 7-5 in the first round to Mullen’s Elizabeth Duginski Ana Corral, who in turn lost in the quarterfinals so Ramos and Rinard will not get a playback opportunity.

“They competed well, but we probably played our B, B-minus tennis,” Dawson head coach Kathryn Benninghoff said. “But we had two ninth-graders out there so it’s good seasoning.”

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ClASS 4A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

At Pueblo City Park

Team scores — Cheyenne Mountain 21, D’Evelyn 11, Kent Denver 11, Colorado Academy 10, Valor Christian 9, Niwot 8, Air Academy 8, Holy Family 7, Pueblo West 7, Steamboat Springs 6, St. Mary’s Academy 3, Conifer 2, Mullen 2, Durango 2, Discovery Canyon 1, Windsor 1, Eaton 1, University 1, Montrose 1.

First-round matches

No. 1 singles — Julia Pentz, Niwot, def. Emma Gaydos, Lewis-Palmer, 6-2, 7-5; Gabrielle Hesse, Discovery Canyon, def. Kelli Keegan, Evergreen, 6-1, 6-1; Sara Schoenbeck, Pueblo West, def. Maddie Farver, Holy Family, 6-2, 6-2; Alex Weil, St. Mary’s Academy, def. Brittany Vail, Pueblo South, 6-0, 6-2; Tatum Berger, Steamboat Springs, def. Alyx Callahan, Vanguard, 6-0, 6-2; Tara Edwards, Colorado Academy, def. Alyssa Arellano, Montrose, 6-0, 6-1; Payton Fielding, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Amanda Ward, Windsor, 6-0, 6-1; Sadie Moseley, Kent Denver, def. Katiana Uyemara, Greeley Central, 6-4, 6-3.

No. 2 singles — Caroline Kawula, Kent Denver, def. Jessie Holt, Hotchkiss, 6-1, 6-2; Kirsten Hafeman, Conifer, def. Aspen Germ, Pueblo South, 6-1, 6-0; Tessa Nguyen, Holy Family, def. Sandra Luksic, Palmer Ridge, 6-2, 6-4; Taylor Thulson, Niwot, def. Darby Warburton, Valor Christian, 6-0, 6-1; Sarah Megilligan, Pueblo West, def. Maddie Thompson, Steamboat Springs, 6-3, 6-3; Savannah Mease, Colorado Academy, def. Myiah Scott, Eaton, 6-1, 6-4; Ashley Burnett, Air Academy, def. Morgan Smith, Greeley Central, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4; Daniela Adamczyk, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Kara Robbins, D’Evelyn, 6-1, 6-0.

No. 3 singles — Kellie Geschwentner, D’Evelyn, def. Abigail Sanford, Greeley Central, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4; Jessica Metz, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Cailey Sweckard, Pueblo South, 6-0, 6-0; Morgan Bullen, Colorado Academy, def. Emmie Thompson, Steamboat Springs, 6-1, 6-1; Jami Albert, Niwot, def. Lara Mcwhorter, Palmer Ridge, 6-2, 6-0; Janna Phansiri, University, def. Meghan Jennings, Mullen, 7-6(4), 6-3; Caitie Mccarthy, Pueblo West, def. Sarah Cleaveland, Standley Lake, 6-0, 6-2; Maeve Kearney, Kent Denver, def. Nicole Pei, Colorado Springs Christian School, 6-0, 6-0; Kit Hackett, Durango, def. Sydney Smith, Discovery Canyon, 7-6, 3-6, 6-1.

No. 1 doubles — Casey Ahrendsen/Ally Arenson, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Savana Dehning/Cynthia Mosness, Longmont, 6-1, 6-1; Lauren Freytag/Megan Freytag, Conifer, def. Alexa Mckenna/Amber Wiens, Thompson Valley, 6-2, 7-6(3); Annie Hertel/Tiffany Parobek, Valor Christian, def. Hanna Haggerty/Maddie Labor, Steamboat Springs, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5; Maura Derr/Isabelle Stafford, Niwot, def. Emma Kerr/Kyra Rothwell, Palmer Ridge, 6-1, 6-1; Elizabeth Smedley/Natalie Bronsdon, Kent Denver, def. Olivia Carr/Kelsey Ward, Aspen, 6-0, 6-0; Courtney Leafgren/Emily Harper, Eaton, def. Caroline Cavender/Anna Marie Parker, Pueblo West, 6-4, 6-1; Claudia Morse/Sage Lochhead, Colorado Academy, def. Ashley Williams/Ioana Dumitru, Air Academy, 6-2, 6-3; Izzy Lydens/Rachel Wilmot, D’Evelyn, def. Makenna Warren/Angelina Sciacca, Pueblo County, 6-4, 7-5.

No. 2 doubles — Mikayla Mcduff/Meghan Mcduff, Valor Christian, def. Shelby Naill/Darcie Kaiser, Eaton, 6-3, 6-3; Ann Shelley/Izzy Watts, Mullen, def. Lindsey Davidson/Allie Freeburg, Montrose, 6-3, 6-1; Angi Reed/Taylor Whatley, D’Evelyn, def. Kristen Bertoldo/Kayla Pfannensteil, Pueblo West, 6-1, 6-2; Sabina Berend/Sydney Boyd, Steamboat Springs, def. Emma Lerner/Janie Sieben, Niwot, 6-2, 7-5; Lauren Lunt/Lauren Agee, Air Academy, def. Sophia Nordell/Keara Ontiveros, Canon City, 6-2, 6-1; Lindsey Bovine/Paige Giltner, Holy Family, def. Sammy Kelley/Amelia Lochhead, Colorado Academy, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2; Tory Louis/Claire Dibble, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Tempel Haifleigh/Isabel Haifleigh, Kent Denver, 6-0, 6-0; Amanda Steib/Carissa Meline, Windsor, def. Brooke Beyer/Painton Riggle, Palmer Ridge, 6-2, 6-2.

No. 3 doubles — Mari Bernal/Brittany Quint, Pueblo West, def. Nacy Stanley/Anna Boyle, Windsor, 6-3, 6-3; Keva O’Connor/Anna Oosterhous, Air Academy, def. Maia Morrissey/Emily Burgess, Mullen, 7-5, 6-1; Maddi Leuthauser/Meg Franz, Montrose, def. Megan Graefe/Ashlyn Twing, Greeley Central, 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-4; Maggie Hime/Elisa Dean, D’Evelyn, def. Sarah Emmanuel/Daria Boulos, St. Mary’s Academy, 7-6(4), 6-3; Megan Dibble/Chelsey Geisz, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Hope Cherubini/Amanda Funk, Colorado Academy, 6-2, 6-2; Shae Burger/Norma Techarukpong, Steamboat Springs, def. Sophia Williams/Amanda Duquette, Niwot, 6-0, 6-4; Alaina Dawson/Jackie Pettet, Valor Christian, def. Ciara Donovan/Kristen Holmes, Holy Family, 6-1, 6-2; Arianna Kemp/Madeline Bragg, Kent Denver, def. Ally Giammo/Ally Meins, Canon City, 6-1, 6-1.

No. 4 doubles — Toni Troje/Allison Reeder, Air Academy, def. Ashley Nock/Mary Yaros, Valor Christian, 6-2, 6-4; Emily West/Chloe West, Durango, def. Bree Peters/Maria D’Rosario, Windsor, 6-4, 6-4; Brianna Bartlett/An Tran, Holy Family, def. Isabella Vasile/Jaycee Sanchez, Pueblo South, 6-0, 6-1; Kyra Jensen/Morgan Blackford, Pueblo West, def. Kinsey Mawson/Abby Sears, Eaton, 6-4, 6-3; Trinity Payne/Cammy Lee, D’Evelyn, def. Ciara Bobak/Cailin Foster, Palmer Ridge, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1; Annika Fahrner/Shannon Ross, Steamboat Springs, def. Christina Bear/Grace Ingebretsen, Colorado Academy, 6-2, 6-2; Tatum Mika/Rachel Perry, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Grace Hawkey/Sarah Dencker, Kent Denver, 6-0, 6-4; Elizabeth Duginski/Ana Corral, Mullen, def. Quin Ramos/Alexa Rinard, Dawson School, 6-3, 7-5.

 

Quarterfinal matches

No. 1 singles — Julia Pentz, Niwot, def. Gabriella Hesse, Discovery Canyon, 2-6, 7-6(7), 6-3; Alex Weil, St. Mary’s Academy, def. Sara Schoenbeck, Pueblo West, 6-2, 6-4; Tatum Berger, Steamboat Springs, def. Tara Edwards, Colorado Academy, 7-6(1), 6-1; Payton Fielding, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Sadie Moseley, Kent Denver, 7-5, 6-3.

No. 2 singles — Caroline Kawula, Kent Denver, def. Kirsten Hafeman, Conifer, 6-1, 6-1; Amber Thulson, Niwot, def. Tessa Nguyen, Holy Family, 6-1, 6-1; Savannah Mease, Colorado Academy, def. Sarah Megilligan, Pueblo West, 6-1, 6-2; Daniela Adamczyk, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Ashley Burnett, Air Academy, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

No. 3 singles — Jessica Metz, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Kellie Geschwentner, D’Evelyn, 6-0, 6-0; Morgan Bullen, Colorado Academy, def. Jami Albert, Niwot, 6-3, 7-5; Caitie Mccarthy, Pueblo West, def. Janna Phansiri, University, 6-4, 6-1; Maeve Kearney, Kent Denver, def. Kit Hackett, Durango, 6-2, 6-0.

No. 1 doubles — Casey Ahrendsen/Ally Arenson, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Lauren Freytag/Megan Freytag, Conifer, 6-0, 6-0; Annie Hertel/Tiffany Parobek, Valor Christian, def. Maura Derr/Isabelle Stafford, Niwot, 6-2, 6-3; Elizabeth Smedley/Natalie Brondson, Kent Denver, def. Courtney Leafgren/Emily Harper, 6-2, 5-7, 7-6; Claudia Morse/Sage Lochhead, Colorado Academy, def. Izzy Lydens/Rachel Wilmot, D’Evelyn, 6-0, 6-2.

No. 2 doubles — Mikayla Mcduff/Meghan Mcduff, Valor Christian, def. Ann Shelley/Izzy Watts, Mullen, 6-1, 6-1; Angi Reed/Taylor Whatley, D’Evelyn, def. Sabina Berend/Sydney Boyd, Steamboat Springs, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2; Lindsey Bovine/Paige Giltner, Holy Family, def. Lauren Lunt/Lauren Agee, Air Academy, 6-4, 6-3; Tory Louis/Claire Dibble, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Amanda Steib/Carissa Meline, Windsor, 6-0, 6-1.

No. 3 doubles — Keva O’Conner/Anna Oosterhous, Air Academy, def. Mari Bernal/Brittany Quint, Air Academy, 6-4, 6-3; Maggie Hime/Elisa Dean, D’Evelyn, def. Maddi Leuthauser/Meg Franz, Montrose, 6-3, 6-1; Megan Dibble/Chelsey Geisz, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Shae Berger/Norma Techarukpong, Steamboat Springs, 6-2, 6-1; Alaina Dawson/Jackie Pettet, Valor Christian, def. Ariana Kemp/Madeline Bragg, Kent Denver, 7-0, 0-6, 6-2.

No. 4 doubles — Toni Troje/Allison Reeder, Air Academy, def. Emily West/Chloe West, Air Academy, 6-1, 6-3; Brianna Bartlett/An Tran, Holy Family, def. Kyra Jensen/Morgan Blackford, Pueblo West, 6-1, 6-2; Trinity Payne/Cammy Lee, D’Evelyn, def. Annika Fahrner/Shannon Ross, Steamboat Springs, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2; Tatumn Mika/Rachel Perry, Cheyenne Mountain, def. Elizabeth Duginski/Ana Corral, Mullen, 6-3, 6-3.

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