A lost high school season in the rearview mirror, Fairview sisters Alexis and Quinn Bernthal, along with teammate Natalie Stone, packed inside the Bernthal father’s Toyota Rav4 last summer and headed back on the tennis circuit.
What had felt like lost time — long months where their spring season was canceled at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic and the options to play elsewhere were limited — was made up on a BYOR (bring your own racket) road trip through the Midwest.
“It was kind of a spur of the moment thing,” Stone said. “We had a lot of fun. Ate ice cream like every day. We went to Missouri and then there’s like three other tournaments. We just traveled around. It was kind of like a little summer tournament road trip thing.”
Together again, their tennis journey remains ongoing a year later.
Neither Alexis Bernthal at No. 1 singles, Stone at No. 2 nor Quinn at 3 lost a single set at the Class 5A Region 2 tournament at Fairview Wednesday, sweeping their way to an individual and team region championship.
The doubles teams followed suit.
Afterward, the Knights players cracked jokes and chatted around the team tent awaiting the last third-place matches to finish.
It’s a bond that stretches further than their top three players — so much so, Fairview coach Susan Stensrud joked that she oftentimes can’t get the girls to go home after practice because they want to stay and hang out.
As one, the Knights will look to make a run at their second team state title at next week’s 5A tournament at the Gates Tennis Center in Denver.
“We’re gunning for the state championship,” said Stensrud, whose last team state title came in 2016, which snapped a 19-year run by Cherry Creek. “That’s our hope. We have great kids who work really hard and that should be our goal.”
And following this regional dominance, it looks promising.
Alexis, who was the 2019 No. 2 singles state champion, looked comfortable in the lead role. In straight games, she beat Grandview’s Halia Pena and Valor Christian’s Tatum Thurstone.
Her pinpoint placement left her opponents scrambling. And when she took place at the front of the net, a blistering winner wasn’t far behind.
“I felt good on court today,” she said. “I think I was able to use spin and finish shots. I didn’t feel super nervous on the court, which was really nice. I felt acclimated.”
Beside her, Stone and Quinn kept their undefeated 2021 records, per MaxPreps, intact with two quick victories of their own.
Also still unblemished for the Knights are the No. 1 doubles team of Virginia Gomulka and Elizabeth Roth, the 2-pairing of Maya Brakhage and Jane Roth and the No. 3 pairing of Mia Grayson and Emily Hao.
The 4-team of Rose Aweida and Lilian Ma won their fifth match in six tries together, also per MaxPreps.
In all, Fairview girls lost just 23 games in total throughout the six-team tournament.
Note: BoCoPreps.com will report on all other tennis regional results upon their completion Friday.