DENVER — Poudre's Ky Ecton is atop the Class 5A girls tennis world. Again.
Ecton, a senior, captured the 5A No. 1 singles championship for the second straight season, this one coming via a 6-4, 6-4 win over Rock Canyon sophomore Meghna Chowdhury on Friday at Gates Tennis Center.
She is the first girl to repeat as champion at No. 1 singles in 5A since former Poudre star Natalie Dunn did it in 2010. Ecton grew up watching Dunn play — her mom, Laura, has been Poudre's coach for more than 20.
"I always looked up to Natalie Dunn as a role model, and being able to say I did the same thing as her is something really cool," Ecton said. "I know how hard it is to be a state champion, and coming back and doing it again, there was a little more pressure, but I think that's pressure I put on myself. Being able to live up to my expectations felt really good that I was able to grit it out and play my best."
Ecton never trailed in the championship match, but Chowdhury battled tough. Each set was tied at 4-4 before Ecton won the last two games.
She finishes her senior season 25-0, and lost just a single set all year.
This season, Ecton had to deal with a format change at the state tournament. The 5A tournament adjusted from a three-day format to two days in an effort to avoid poor weather on Saturday. That meant Ecton had to play two matches on Friday — the semifinals and the championship.
"Usually, after our (second day), we go home, go to a movie, go to the mall, go shopping, that sort of thing, so it's more of a team bonding experience," Ecton said. "But I think it's also cool, (playing the entire tournament in two days), because, for me personally, the first match was, 'OK, I'm warmed up, I've played a match already.' And it was also really cool.
"I had teammates playing the whole day, I was able to watch them. As compared to last year, I was the only one who was playing," Ecton said. "It was really cool to support my team. It felt more like a team sport rather than an individual sport."
Chowdhury was seeking to become Rock Canyon's first-ever individual girls champion. As it was, she became the school's first-ever placer.
Ecton's run to a second-straight individual title also helped Poudre secure its spot as runner-up — the team's highest-ever finish.
The Impalas placed second to Cherry Creek, which had a dominant run to the program's second-consecutive team title, and 35th overall. The Bruins, a perennial power, had built a large lead after the first day of play on Thursday, and only extended that lead early on Friday.
By 11:15 a.m., before the first rounds of playbacks were complete, the Bruins had already mathematically secured their championship. They finished with 85 points.
They had individual champions at No. 2 singles (Eliza Hill), No. 3 singles (Nicole Hill), No. 1 doubles (Micha Handler and Miranda Kawula), No. 2 doubles (Anna Fusaris and Halley Mackiernan) and No. 4 doubles (Emily Wilkins and Dahlia Rappaport).
Also winning an individual championship were Marie Manassez and Grace Neff of Regis Jesuit at No. 3 doubles.
Denver East finished third as a team with 29 points, Fort Collins (22) was fourth, and Fairview (17) rounded out the top five.