Alameda International has state tennis qualifiers for the first time in decades

Alameda International girls tennis coach Scott Smith talks with his team during practice Tuesday afternoon. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

LAKEWOOD — Heart surgery kept Alameda International student-athlete Dana Glisan off the softball field, basketball and tennis courts during the 2015-16 school year.

Glisan was able to compete during her senior year. Playing No. 3 singles for the Pirates’ girls tennis team this spring she has become part of history. The senior along with seven of her teammates will take the court at the Class 3A girls state tournament Thursday.

“I never imagined it, but it was my dream since I was a freshman,” Glisan said about completing at state. “I’m pretty stoked.”

Alameda will send its No. 2 and 3 singles positions, along with No. 1, 2 and 3 double teams to the three-day state tournament at Centennial Park in Greeley. According to longtime Alameda coach Scott Smith, he believes it's the first time the school has qualified players to the girls tennis state tournament in more than 30 years.

Alameda senior Dana Glisan is back on the court after having heart surgery last year. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“This is just a really special group of young ladies. Regardless of how we finish this year, it’s been a pleasure all year,” Smith said. “Most of them are super students too. They are in honors programs and the IB diploma program.”

The Colorado High School Activities Association added the 3A classification that encompasses schools with enrollment numbers under 1,060 students this year.

“Adding another classification kind of makes us play more like schools,” Smith said.

The 3A Region 1 tournament last week featured Colorado Academy, Alameda, Bishop Machebeuf, Denver West and Skyview. The Pirates who place in the top-2 to qualify for state includes senior Makayla Romero who plays No. 2 singles.

“When I got to regionals I realized I could make it to state. It was that late,” Romero said. “It’s crazy. It’s a great accomplishment.”

Colorado Academy swept all seven first-place spots at regionals. Alameda managed to place second in the team standings.

Alameda senior Makayla Romero hits a backhand during practice Tuesday. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“We just said, ‘Get better every week and put it all on the line at regionals.’ They did,” Smith said. “They really played well at regionals.”

Smith hopes this year’s success helps build the numbers up for his program that he has guided for more than 30 years. He had a dozen players come out for the team this season.

“It’s really good for Alameda,” Smith said. “I hope it does get our number up. We just barely had a team this year.”

The three Alameda double teams headed to Greeley are all underclassmen — No. 1 doubles: Michelle Dinh and Samantha Salazar, No. 2 doubles: Jacky Cruz and Tina Hoang, No. 3 doubles: Cindy Hoang and Ivette Sanchez.

“We’ll go up and do our best,” Smith said. “May the chips fall as they do.”

Alameda International's girls tennis team placed second at the Class 3A Region 1 tournament. (photo provided)