GREELEY — On Friday, April 20, 2001, Trisha and Trini Somasundaram came into this world. Trisha arrived first and will forever get to claim older sister rights on her twin by just over a minute.
On Friday at Centennial Courts in Greeley, Trini earned some bragging rights of her own. At 2:55 p.m. she closed out her No. 2 singles championship match against Aspen’s Niko Hansen, 6-1, 6-3 to become the first Peak to Peak player to win a state title.
Just a minute later at 2:56 (no kidding) Trisha followed suit at No. 1 singles, beating Steamboat Springs’ Mae Thorp 6-2, 6-2 for her title and in the process sewed up what can only be described as a remarkable run to the Class 3A team title for the Pumas.
“It feels so good and I really wanted to win this time and I’m just so excited for our team,” said Trini, who bounced back in a big way in Greeley after bowing out in the first round last year. “This is the first time that has happened and it is just so exciting.”
Just how unlikely is the team crown?
Two week ago — with a daunting regional tournament at Colorado Academy right in front of them — Peak to Peak head coach Peter Nestel stepped down from his post and left the Pumas. Athletic director Peter Chandler was in a bit of a quandary and turned to history teacher Wade Kingsbury to fill the role.
At first Kingsbury was reluctant, because the 2007 Longmont grad was right in the middle of the interview and hiring process to become the his alma maters girls basketball coach and didn’t feel like he had the time or energy to commit. But after a little urging, and knowing that he was one of the few CHSAA-certified coaches available, Kingsbury agreed. And boy was he happy to be along for the ride.
“I’m not here to coach their ground strokes or in terms of technical skills, I’m here to just be a champion for them,” said Kingsbury, who dabbled in tennis during his high school days with the Trojans. “I’m trying to make sure they are staying positive and doing the little things, moving their feet and being supportive as a teammate.”
Before the tournament, Kingsbury asked the Somasundaram sister what they wanted most and the first thing they told him was that team title.
“They could have been doing their own thing, but they were in it for the girls,” he said. “And that was the most exciting thing for me is that they were all in it together.”
Trisha Somasundaram, one year after losing in the semifinals, faced what she thought was her biggest test of the tournament in the semifinals against her summertime doubles partner Mia Oliver of Denver North.
And after winning a quick opening set, Somasundaram fell behind 5-2 in the second. “There was no way I was going three sets, so I just buckled down,” she said.
Somasundaram rallied back to force a tiebreaker, ultimately winning it 11-9 and with it carried some momentum into the title match.
Against the hard-hitting Thorp, Somasundaram was content to be a wall, forcing the Sailors sophomore to make errors and picking her spots to go for winners. After a quick 6-2 first set, Somasundaram broke a 2-2 second set score winning four straight games and closing out the title in straight sets.
“When we are warming up, I can see what they are weak on and what advantages can I get from this,” Trisha said. “It’s also a matter of blocking out the crowd and focusing on me, because no one else maters outside of the court.”
Trini was also hasty in her dispatching of Hansen. And she stuck to her gameplan to get the job done.
“You have act to be tougher than what you are inside and go and get it,” said Trini, who played on the court right next to her sister. “I kept wanting to watch her, but knew I needed to stay focused.”
Also winning was the No. 1 doubles team from Holy Family of Ciara Donovan and Lexi Licata. With a lot on the line in terms of bringing home some hardware, Donovan and Licata were able to focus on the task at hand and beat University’s Natalie Orcutt and Alexsei Vieyra 7-6, 6-2.
“(Coach Brittany) Storgaard always says don’t just play for yourself, but play for your team,” said Donovan, whose Tigers finished third behind D’Evelyn’s 51 points to their 46.
Said Licata: “Instead of playing for each other, we were thinking about our team, the whole time and we were winning for them.”
Dawson finished fourth overall and crowned a champion at No. 3 doubles. The tandem of Eloise Shehan and Victoria Joris beat Peak to Peak’s Isabella Brakhage and Madison Lin, 6-4, 6-3.
CLASS 3A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Centennial Courts (Greeley)
Team scores — Peak to Peak 55, D’Evelyn 51, Holy Family 46, Dawson 37, Colorado Academy 28, Steamboat Springs 17, University 16, Aspen 16, Denver North 13, Pueblo County 13, Eaton 11, C.S. School 11, The Vanguard 5, Sterling 3, Lutheran 2, Salida 2, Fort Morgan 1, Mead 1, C.S. Christian 1.
No. 1 singles — Trisha Somasundaram, Peak to Peak def. Mia Oliver, Denver North, 6-2, 7-6 (9); Mae Thorp, Steamboat Springs def. Jules Thompson, C.S. School, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.
No. 2 singles — Trini Somasundaram, Peak to Peak def. Angi Reed, D’Evelyn, 6-2, 6-0; Niko Hansen, Aspen def. Paige Giltner, Holy Family, 6-3, 6-4.
No. 3 singles — Elisa Dean, D’Evelyn def. Tiffany Tran, Peak to Peak, 1-6, 6-2, 7-6; Amanda Funk, Colorado Academy def. An Tran, Holy Family, 6-1, 1-6, 7-5.
No. 1 doubles — Natalie Orcutt/Alexsei Vieyra, University def. Allie Blank/Isabelle Shehan, Dawson, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4; Ciara Donovan/Lexi Licata, Holy Family def. Cammy Lee/Olivia Sanders, D’Evelyn, 3-6, 7-6, 6-3.
No. 2 doubles — Kadie Griffith/Mikaelee Salberg, Eaton def. Charity Perkes/Keri Jennings, D’Evelyn, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2; Ann-Claire Lin/Story Wolf-Tinsman, Colorado Academy def. Quin Ramos/Alexa Rinard, Dawson, 7-5, 6-1.
No. 3 doubles — Eloise Shehan/Victoria Joris, Dawson def. Lainie Bonthron/Abby Hawley, DEvelyn, 6-3, 7-6; Isabella Brakhage/Madison Lin, Peak to Peak def. Caroline Smolky/Emily Lindoerfer, Holy Family, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
No. 4 doubles — Julia Garfinkel/Sarah Devereux, Dawson def. Grace Coster/Evelin Mojica, Holy Family, 6-3, 6-2; Ashlee Hanratty/Kinley Gomez, Pueblo County def. Teya Hawkins/Haley Wood, University, 6-4, 7-5.
No. 1 singles — Trisha Somasundaram, Peak to Peak def. Thorp, Steamboat Springs, 6-2, 6-2.
No. 2 singles — Trini Somasundaram, Peak to Peak def. Hansen, Aspen, 6-1, 6-3.
No. 3 singles — Dean, D’Evelyn def. Funk, Colorado Academy, 6-1, 7-5.
No. 1 doubles — Donovan/Licata, Holy Family def. Orcutt/Vieyra, University, 7-6, 6-2.
No. 2 doubles — Lin/Wolf-Tinsman, Colorado Academy def. Griffith/Salberg, Eaton, 6-3, 6-2.
No. 3 doubles — Shehan/Joris, Dawson def. Brakhage/Lin, Peak to Peak, 6-4, 6-3.
No. 4 doubles — Hanratty/Gomez, Pueblo County def. Garfinkel/Devereux, Dawson, 6-4, 6-4.
No. 1 singles — Oliver, Denver North def. Thompson, C.S. School, 6-0, 6-0.
No. 2 singles — Reed, D’Evelyn def. Giltner, Holy Family, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2.
No. 3 singles — T. Tran, Peak to Peak def. A. Tran, Holy Family, 6-3, 6-2.
No. 1 doubles — Lee/Sanders, D’Evelyn def. Blank/Shehan, Dawson, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4.
No. 2 doubles — Perkes/Jennings, D’Evelyn def. Ramos/Rinard, Dawson, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
No. 3 doubles — Bonthron/Hawley, D’Evelyn def. Smolky/Lindoerfer, Holy Family, 6-3, 6-4.
No. 4 doubles — Coster/Mojica, Holy Family def. Burns/Franz, Peak to Peak, 6-7, 6-4, 6-1.