Rice and Haas ends girls tennis drought for Lakewood Tigers

Lakewood freshman Mikaela Haas hits a forehand during the final day of the Class 5A girls tennis state tournament at Gates Tennis Center. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

DENVER — Junior Lauren Rice and freshman Mikaela Haas did something no girls tennis player from Lakewood High School had done since 1982.

Rice and Haas — Lakewood’s No. 4 doubles teams — advanced to the Class 5A state championship match May 11 at the Gates Tennis Center. The last girls tennis player to play in a state tournament final was Suzi Colglazier when she won at No. 3 singles 36 years ago.

Lakewood junior Lauren Rice watches the ball after hitting a backhand during the No. 4 double state final May 11. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“After all our matches is when we really realized how far we’ve gone,” said Rice, who also qualified for state last year at No. 4 doubles with partner Gabriella Bowles.

Rice and Haas won their first three matches at state in straight-set fashion against Fossil Ridge, Ralston Valley and Boulder. It was a big step for Haas.

“We just wanted to make it to state,” Haas said.

Rice and Haas did much more than just make the state tournament. The pair took the court Friday afternoon against Cherry Creek with the Class 5A No. 4 double title on the line.

Mikaela Haas and Lauren Rice became the first girls tennis players from Lakewood to play for in a state final since 1982. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“We were excited,” Haas said of facing Cherry Creek’s No. 4 doubles team of senior Emily Wilkins and freshman Dahlia Rappaport. “We had nothing to lose. We were the underdogs. We wanted to go out there and have fun.”

Wilkins and Rappaport was too much for Rice and Haas in the final. The Bruins took a 6-1, 6-2 victory. Cherry Creek won its 35th overall girls tennis state team title winning five of seven positions.

“Once we got here it was match-by-match,” Rice said. “We saw the end goal of going as far as we can.”

The success Rice and Haas had this season makes it a strong possibility that the two will remain doubles partners next year.

“We play really, really well together,” said Rice, who uses her height and athletic ability well at the net while Haas has proven to be a very strong and consistent player at the baseline.

Lakewood's No. 4 doubles team of Lauren Rice and Mikaela Haas competed in a championship match May 11 at Gates Tennis Center. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)