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Dawson School's Eloise Shehan in a ...
Daily Camera file photo
Dawson’s Eloise Shehan will take on singles play in 2021 after qualifying for state in doubles in 2019.

Team outlook
Class 5A
Boulder Panthers
Coach: Elizabeth Korevaar
The Scorecard: The Panthers will try and replicate or improve upon a top-10 placing at 2019 state, though a new No. 1 singles player will have to step up as Lily Chitamber opted out. Just two seniors on the roster (Mahima Gurung, Lucia Paul) give BHS a chance to build up some momentum this year and be ready for a more normal regional experience and state possibilities in 2022. Boulder defeated Broomfield, 4-3, in their season-opening dual match on Tuesday. Penny Jensen is also eligible to return to this year’s team.

Broomfield Eagles
Coach: John Trask
The Scorecard: The Eagles are young this year with just Maria Silver (No. 2 singles) and Lili Tedesco on the roster as seniors. While that may mean a lot of quick learning is in store, top-flight singles player Elena Hristoff already showed solid skills in a win against Boulder, while sophomore Holly Vanderberg also has an early win to her name in 2021. The doubles tandems across the board will look to develop quickly as the Eagles participate in the 5A realm.

Fairview Knights
Coach: Susan Stensrud
The Scorecard: After winning the Class 5A team title in 2016, the Knights believe they’ll hold a spot close to that by season’s end thanks to a strong singles lineup and cohesive doubles play. Fairview boasts a singles trio of high-caliber players — sisters Alexis and Quinn Bernthal and senior Natalie Stone — while a sophomore combination of Virginia Gomulka and Elizabeth Roth hold down No. 1 doubles. “We are so looking forward to having our team together again, reminding ourselves about our traditions and experiences,” Stensrud said as she enters her 16th season at the helm. “We are excited about our young talent and senior leadership on this team.”

Legacy Lightning
Coach: Laura Zlogar
The Scorecard: The Lightning already flexed their muscles once this season with a 7-0 sweep of Mountain Range, fueled by straight-sets wins across the board and only one game dropped. Zlogar’s three singles players — Eileen Tran, Lily Kasic and Fabiana Alvarez — all made the state field in 2019 and there’s trust in the doubles teams, particularly top tandem Gracie Stapleton and Megan Mari. “This squad has lots of experience and potential,” Zlogar said. “I’m looking forward to seeing them compete. It’s so great to be back out on the courts after such an abrupt ending last season.”

Monarch Coyotes
Coach: Billy Downs
The Scorecard: There’s a lot to learn about the Coyotes still, but a 5-2 win over Horizon in their opening match gives Downs optimism despite there not being any state-experienced players on the roster. Maddie Devendorf, Niamh Heaney and Lindsey Igler are the last-hurrah seniors whom Downs hopes can make state in their final season. Sidney Kuhl and Eliza Maxwell were two players who had high hopes last year.

Class 4A
Centaurus Warriors
Coach: Julie Daniel
The Scorecard: There’s a little different type of enthusiasm around the program this year as the Warriors saw a number of last year’s possible returners decide not to play but instead have a group of eager-to-learn athletes. Gradual improvement is the key, but Daniel said Lassie Moore and Sara Nickerson make for hearty top-of-the-ladder players who could compete well at regionals. Seniors Ashli Hogan, Carly Keeler and Hale Burke will also contribute to a yet-to-be-decided lineup.

Erie Tigers
Coach: Eric Farran
The Scorecard: With fewer positions available on the team, the growth of a young Erie program will be halted temporarily. That’s not to say the Tigers don’t have talent, especially at the top. Freshman Laina Kitlowski is a player Farran said everyone will know by the end of the year. “I’m looking forward to being outside breathing the beautiful Colorado air and teaching the sport I love to kids that have been sitting on computers for too long,” Farran said.

Frederick Warriors
Coach: Mark Allen
The Scorecard: Like many coaches, Allen saw a dip in numbers this season for the program with kids having other commitments in late May and June, but he also said he has a “dedicated, passionate, and driven team and I look forward to seeing them get better throughout the season.” Leading the way are juniors Maria Bello, Kaitlyn Parko and Ali Davis, the Nos. 1-3 singles crew, and Maddie Fauerbach and Naia Maldonado (a freshman/junior No. 1 doubles team).

Longmont Trojans
Coach: Michael Merz
The Scorecard: Merz and his Trojans will be shooting for the stars in 2021, but the singles group comprised of sophomores Lauren Pavot, Ella Jackson and Allison Brause present LHS with a strong future. There are six seniors among the eight doubles players on the ladder — Hailey Seamons and Molly Greff (1 doubles), Gwen Kamenides and Zoey Shutes (2s), and Gracie Jennings and Annika Olson (4s). “I’m excited to see my athletic freshmen and sophomore play and for my seniors to make it to the state tournament,” Merz said. “The biggest challenges will be to stay out of quarantine and to progress in such a short season to make a mark at the state tournament which won’t have 3rd or 4th place matches.”

Mead Mavericks
Coach: Benjamin Holskin
The Scorecard: The Mavericks have a solidified, experienced set of singles players as well as a top doubles team looking to make up for lost time. MK Longobricco (1 singles), Kylie Zanini (2s) and Campbell Smith (3s) have had a nice run of two-plus years controlling singles play and are looking for elusive state bids. Lily Drouhard, Jaylyn Westenbroek and Sophie Drouhard are all seniors, too, and Holskin is expecting them to finish out their careers on a positive note.

Niwot Cougars
Coach: Aimee Keronen
The Scorecard: Keronen is cautiously optimistic about her team — though the Cougars always seem to be right in the thick of the 4A title hunt when things are said and done. There’s state championship experience, with Anna Sallee, Emily Creek and Georgia Lang all entering 2021 with gold medals to their name and looking for more. Sophomore Alys Pop and freshman Riley Markham lead the young talent for NHS while senior Tehya Laughlin will look to go out strong. “State being in June will definitely pose its challenges but I have a committed group of girls always ready to compete for the state title,” Keronen said.

Silver Creek Raptors
Coach: Sara Whiteley
The Scorecard: Whiteley admitted there will be a lot of learning on the go with the short preseason, but she was excited that her players get to play first and foremost. The Raptors are comprised of four seniors, three juniors and four sophomores, with seniors Olivia Nelson and Gaby Gutierrez topping the lineup (junior Keely Weber earned the No. 3 singles slot). A youthful No. 4 doubles set of sophomores Olivia Wisecup and Lexi Gutierrez showed some early-season grit in a three-set win against Greeley Central earlier this week.

Skyline Falcons
Coach: Phil Astras
The Scorecard: Competing in the same regional as Niwot is always a challenge, but the Falcons are meeting it head-on in 2021. Skyline had a super young group in 2020 that showed growth in limited time on the court before the season was wiped away, and with a large roster of girls eligible to return, there are some more lofty expectations of match victories and good matches at regionals.

Class 3A
Dawson Mustangs
Coach: Kathy Benninghoff
The Scorecard: The Mustangs have wasted no time at all getting going in their 2021 slate, having already played three events (1-1 dual record while also placing first among three teams at the Centaurus Round Robin). The team is led by junior Lila Travis and senior Alexis Gilio, while senior Eloise Shehan appears locked in at No. 3 singles. Behind them are some senior doubles teams that fill out a lineup capable of hitting hard and heavy at 3A state.

Holy Family Tigers
Coach: Brittany Storgaard
The Scorecard: Storgaard is pressing “being joyful in all moments” with her team after last year’s abrupt non-season. This will especially hold water for a senior-heavy Tigers team that returns Lindsey Bartoletta (2019 semifinalist at 2 singles), Emily Lindoerfer, Megan Smolky, Kelly Whitehill, Sadie Bren and Audrey Brower — the seniors occupying the ladder. Laura Baker, a freshman, won a 3 singles spot out of the gates and will look to help the Tigers take a strong team to Colorado Springs.

Justice Phoenix
Coach: TJ Cole
The Scorecard: The Phoenix are pretty scaled down this year because of the pandemic’s effects, but Cole was still excited to be able to offer an opportunity for the girls to play a sport and will look to build for a more normal 2022 season. The roster consists of returners Kenzi Salee and Erica Marquez, while Andreya Herrera, A.Z. Valdez and Yasmin Herrera will each look for week-over-week improvement.

Peak to Peak Pumas
Coach: Eric Carlson
The Scorecard: The Pumas are another team heavily focused on a top-3 state finish no matter what year it is, and this shortened season could present a good opportunity to find state berths competing in the same regional as Dawson, Berthoud and Fort Lupton.

Prospect Ridge Miners
Coach: Ari Finkelstein
The Scorecard: Anh-Thu Le is a returning senior who played at state two years ago (at No. Doubles). She now leads the team at No. 1 singles, along with fellow senior and captain Annie Cao (No. 2 singles). The Miners are a young but hungry team, and they hope to make some waves in the talented Metro League this spring. Despite graduating 10 of 11 varsity players, they hope to have a strong showing at regionals and qualify at least a few positions for state.

Bringing it home: recent state champions
2020 — No champions crowned (season canceled because of COVID-19 pandemic)
2019 — Team: Cherry Creek (5A), Cheyenne Mountain (4A), Peak to Peak (3A); Individual No. 1 singles: Valerie Negin, Smoky Hill (5A), Lucy Lu, Niwot (4A), Trisha Somasundaram, Peak to Peak (3A).
2018 — Team: Cherry Creek (5A), Niwot (4A), Peak to Peak (3A); Individual No. 1 singles: Ky Ecton, Poudre (5A), Lucy Lu, Niwot (4A), Trisha Somasundaram, Peak to Peak (3A).
2017 — Team: Cherry Creek (5A), Cheyenne Mountain (4A), D’Evelyn (3A); Individual No. 1 singles: Ky Ecton, Poudre (5A), Josie Schaffer, Kent Denver (4A), Sammy Moore-Thomson, Colo. Academy (3A).

Point me to the postseason
A drastically reduced regular season (10 total events) will lead to single-elimination regional play throughout the three classifications to be completed by June 5. State tournaments will be single-elimination format on June 11-12, with Class 5A going at Gates Tennis Center (Denver), 4A at Pueblo City Park (Pueblo) and 3A at Memorial Park (Colorado Springs).

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