PUEBLO — KRDO sports director Rob Namnoum has dubbed Cheyenne Mountain’s No. 1 doubles group the Law Firm of Ahrendsen and Arenson.
It’s not hard to understand why.
Forget about Mike McDivitt or Frank Azar for one weekend each May. Casey Ahrendsen and Ally Arenson run the courts in Pueblo.
“It’s funny,” Arenson said. “But we’re not going to (practice law). She wants to go into biology and I want to go into engineering.”
The Indians’ top doubles team beat Discovery Canyon’s Hunter Jones and Lizzie McCurdy on Friday to advance to the No. 1 doubles final of the Class 4A state tennis tournament. Saturday morning, they’ll take the courts at Pueblo City Park looking to claim their fourth state title together.
And as odd as it may sound, playing well at state still isn’t routine for them. Each time they take the court, they understand that the wins don’t come if they aren’t working in sync and consistently performing at a high level.
“Each day is a new day and each match is a new match,” Ahrendsen said. “Every point is completely different. It’s not a daily thing.”
Typically, just as focused as they are on themselves, they also keep their focus on the overall team title. That won’t be a worry on Saturday.
In a three-set thriller on Friday, Corey Patton Lossner beat Niwot’s Julia Pentz, putting the Indians at 66. At the conclusion of semifinals, no other team could score more than 58. Cheyenne Mountain clinched its ninth-straight team championship with a day to spare.
“There’s a lot of pressure off everybody,” Indians coach David Adams said. “But as always, everybody wants to finish on a high note.”
Meaning everybody needs to be playing on Saturday. It took Morgan Hall winning in playbacks to get there, but Cheyenne Mountain has all seven positions competing on the final day.
Hall was the only one not to reach a final as she fell to Kent Denver’s Josie Schaffer 6-2, 6-0 in the semis.
Schaffer, the defending No. 1 singles champion, gets a shot to go back-to-back. She beat Hall in the semifinals last year, so she knew going in that advancing was no easy task.
“It was really hard,” Schaffer said. “My game plan was just to play my game and whatever happens, happens. I know Morgan, I play with her all the time. She’s a great player so I just wanted to go out and have fun.”
Schaffer will square off against Durango’s Mavis Edwards, a freshman making her first appearance in the state tournament.
It will be a unique feeling heading into Saturday as most matches will have individual focus rather than a focus on team standings.
It takes pressure off players like the Law Firm and allow them to concentrate on what they need to do for themselves and not get wrapped up in what is happening on the surrounding courts.
The problem is that Cheyenne is proving to be tight group of kids. It’s nearly impossible to not stress out about each other and keep an eye on what else is going on.
“We want them to do just as well,” Arenson said. “Once we step off the court – even when we’re on the court – we’ll be looking at our other team members’ matches and we really want them to win.”