GREELEY — The first-ever Class 3A girls tennis tournament came down to the final set with D’Evelyn and Dawson tied for the lead.
“It’s pretty incredible, it’s an amazing feeling,” D’Evelyn coach Woody Oliver said after his team hoisted the first-place trophy. “The last few days have been quite the ride, but I wouldn’t have wanted it to go any other way. It was a great few days with a storybook ending.”
In the No. 4 doubles match between D’Evelyn’s Charity Perks and Keri Jennings and Colorado Academy’s Alexandra Ford and Story Wolf-Tinsman, Perks and Jennings dropped the second set after winning the first.
“I know that in the second set, we got really excited,” Perks said. “We got too excited, and really needed to calm down, but we didn’t know that our team was riding on us for the state championship. It was a huge victory for the whole team.”
D’Evelyn was riding on the doubles pair more than they could imagine. A loss would have given Colorado Academy the team win.
“It came down to the last match. I lost a few years off my life, the pressure was pretty intense,” Oliver said. “I think we had five or six match points in the second set and ended up losing, but all the credit goes to the girls. They refocused and realized what was at stake. They played the best they have all year when it mattered the most.”
Perks and Jennings pulled through (6-4, 5-7, 6-2) to give the Jaguars the school’s first girls tennis team championship.
“It was really nice to win this for our team, we’ve worked so hard this season,” Jennings said. “I’m so glad that we were able to pull through and keep calm and just leave it all on the court.”
D’Evelyn had five players in championship matches on Saturday, which carried the Jaguars in team points. D’Evelyn grabbed just six team points on the final day with two wins, but those were the points that made the difference.
“Like we were saying a few months ago, the strength of the team is not any one player,” Oliver said. “It’s their depth, the entire team. It’s all across the board. There was no weak link, there was no strong link. It was a total team effort, so all the credit goes to them — they deserve it.”
Before the season started, it was known that whoever wins this season’s Class 3A girls tennis championship will be the first to ever do so.
It wasn’t known who would take the crown. D’Evelyn answered the call.
Dawson also won the team sportsmanship award.
Colorado Academy’s Moore-Thomson dominant in No. 1 singles final
Sammy Moore-Thomson looked anything but a freshman in a dominant 6-0, 6-0 win over Mae Thorp in the No. 1 singles final.
“[Thorp] and I have been playing against eachother for a while — I’ve been playing her since I was nine in tournaments,” Moore-Thomson said. “Last time I played her, it was a lot closer. I’ve been working really hard recently, and this shows that my hard work is paying off.”
Moore-Thomson found herself in an unfamiliar position Friday in the semifinals after dropping the first set. She was in a close second set with Peak to Peak’s Trisha Somasundaram and was showing her age.
But, she took a breath and remembered what got her there. Moore-Thomson fought back to win and advance to the finals.
“I had a tough match yesterday,” Moore-Thomson said. “I was just trying to improve on yesterday, and anything can happen out there. Really, I was just going out there to have fun and play for the team as well as myself. I think this was a good end to the season.”
And in the finals, it was a whole different level of confidence from Moore-Thomson.
“I tend to have a bad habit of trying to end the points too quickly,” Moore-Thomson said. “I was trying to work on hitting a high top-spin ball and waiting for the right opportunity to attack. I felt that I played well in this match.”
The win was big in team points as it inched Colorado Academy closer to D’Evelyn.
“It’s really close,” Moore-Thomson said. “This morning, we had 49 points and D’Evelyn had 51. Dawson was close behind, so this win was worth three points, which would put us over D’Evelyn.
“It’s really important for the team and really meant a lot to me.”
Moore-Thomson and Colorado Academy came up short, but finished tied for second with Dawson.
Dawson’s Maggie Berry made history as she was the first individual champion in school history. Berry did not drop a set all year en route to a No. 3 singles title.
The Mustangs’ Bridget Bell took her No. 2 singles match to tie D’Evelyn at 54 for the lead (and eventually Colorado Academy in second) with two matches remaining.
Holy Family tandem Leah Schwartz/Camilla Ruiz became the first champions in school history when they won their No. 2 doubles match over D’Evelyn’s Maggie Hime/Olivia Sanders.
Courtney Leafgren and Shelby Naill won Eaton’s lone title of the tournament, cruising through the tournament. Leafgren and Naill beat D’Evelyn’s Angi Reed and Taylor Whatley in No. 1 doubles.
D’Evelyn’s No. 2 doubles of Cammy Lee and Elisa Dean also didn’t drop a set in state or regionals. They came in third last year at the 4A tournament.