GREELEY — Familiar faces are leading the pack in the Class 3A state tennis tournament's No. 1 singles draw as the semifinals approach.
Steamboat Springs sophomore Mae Thorp, who made it to the finals last year but was defeated by Sammy Moore-Thompson of Colorado Academy, will be getting a shot at redemption as she has made it back to the semifinals.
“My goal is to make it to state all four years,” said Thorp. “I’m excited that I have done it the last two years, plus its an awesome feeling to have won regionals this year too.”
The semifinals will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday. The tournament has been modified to a two-day format in order to avoid bad weather on Saturday.
Thorp started the day with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Colorado Springs Christian’s Tristen VanDeVeer and defeated Pueblo County’s Erin Mauro in the quarterfinals (6-1, 6-0). Thorp will go against Jules Thompson, a freshman at Colorado Springs School, in the semifinals.
“This season has really helped prepare me for these games,” said Thorp. “We played a lot of 5A schools so that really has helped me play against some of these hard hitters.”
Also making a return to the semifinals is Peak to Peak’s Trisha Somasundaram. In last year’s tournament Somasundaram also fell victim to Moore-Thompson in the semifinals.
Despite losing in the semifinals last year, Somasundaram’s focus on Friday is not on winning, but on enjoying herself and having fun.
“I have been playing tennis since I was four years old,” said a smiling Somasundaram. “If you would have told me I would be playing in the state tournament, I wouldn’t have believed you because I just play for fun.”
Sometimes the key to success is to just forget the stress and stakes and focus on having fun. That strategy has helped Somasundaram as she has gone undefeated this year.
Somasundaram started the day with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Lutheran’s Gabrielle Mosley despite her nerves.
“I was really nervous when I first started out,” said Somasundaram. “I just had to tell myself that I got this and continued to motivate myself to keep playing like I know I can.”
Somasundaram ended the day with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over Julia Giltner of Holy Family in the quarterfinals. Somasundaram will face Mia Oliver of Denver North in the semifinals.
“Despite feeling extremely exhausted from this heat, I’m glad I was able to keep my composure,” Somasundaram said. “At the beginning of the season I told myself that I was going to try my best in all my matches, but that I was mainly just playing for fun.”
Somasundaram was not only dominant on Thursday, but her team was also as they showed up and played well. This is the first time that Peak to Peak has had their whole team qualify for state.
“I’m extremely proud of our team this year,” said Somasundaram. “Last year it was just me and my sister, but to have our whole team here with us is just amazing and the highlight of our season.”
After Day 1, Holy Family holds the team lead with 17 points.
D'Evelyn is in second with 16 points, and Dawson is in a close third with 14 points.
The No. 1 doubles field is set with University’s Orcutt/Vieyra playing Dawson’s Blank/Shehan. Holy Family’s Donovan/Licata will face D’Evelyn’s Lee/Sanders.
In No. 2 singles, Somasundaram’s sister Trini will face D’Evelyn’s Angi Reed. Aspen’s Niko Hansen will take on Paige Giltner of Holy Family.
On the other side, No. 2 doubles will consist of D’Evelyn’s Perkes/Jennings playing Griffith/Salberg of Eaton. Colorado Academy’s Lin/Wolf-Tinsman will compete against Dawson’s Ramos/Rinard.
No. 3 singles will have another Peak to Peak and D’Evelyn matchup with Elisa Dean and Tiffany Tran. Colorado Academy’s Amanda Funk will compete against Aspen’s Macy Hopkinson.
No. 3 doubles will consist of Dawson’s Shehan/Joris against Bonthron/Hawley of D’Evelyn. The other match is Brakhage/Lin of Peak to Peak and Smolky/Lindoefer of Holy Family.
No. 4 doubles has Holy Family’s Coster/Mojica facing Dawson’s Garfinkle/Devereux. Opposite them is University’s Hawkins/Wood playing Pueblo County’s Hanratty/Gomez.