Windsor sophomore Amanda Ward wasn’t about to be intimidated Friday.
In fact, she was the one doing the intimidating.
Niwot senior Erin Mulshine is used to dominating.
But, again on Friday, Ward was the one dominating.
In short, everything highly-touted Mulshine does, Ward did better in the Class 4A Region 4 girls tennis tournament finals at Centennial Courts.
The end result? Ward electrified her teammates, family and fans with the biggest upset of the tournament, knocking off Mulshine 6-3, 6-2, in the No. 1 singles finals.
Mulshine — who finished in the top 6 at state last season — came into the regional tournament a heavy favorite but could never settle into a rhythm against a very game Ward.
“Oh my gosh, it’s probably the biggest win I’ve had all season,” said Ward, who credited her footwork for winning the match. “I went in knowing (Mulshine) was a really good player, but I knew I just had to keep my focus and play well and stay mental. The whole match, I just stayed up and was positive.”
Ward led Windsor (51 points) to a third-place finish in the 11-team regional, behind Niwot (94) and Eaton (55).
She will be joined at state by Wizards teammate Sarah Engelhardt, who was the runner-up at No. 3 singles.
All four of the Reds doubles tandems qualified for state with runner-up finishes: Maddy Shelton and Catherine Harper at No. 1 doubles, Hayley Miller and Karen Sigg at No. 2 doubles, Emily Harper and Courtney Leafgren at No. 3 doubles and Avery Jones and Meghan Raisley at No. 4 doubles.
University No. 2 singles player Allison Smerud also qualified with a second-place finish.
Ward — who played No. 3 singles as a freshman last year — became just the second Windsor player in program history to win a regional championship heading into state, which will take place Thursday-Saturday at Pueblo City Park.
“My emotions were high,” Wizards coach Chris Minear said moments after the match. “She was focused, she was on to the next shot. If she won the point, she went back and played the next one. If she lost it, she went back and played the next one. There was no emotion; no playing fast when she’s winning, playing slow when she’s losing. She just was consistent.”
Ward went undefeated against 4A Tri-Valley competition and her only loses this season have come against a trio of 5A opponents.
When Ward makes her state tournament debut this week, it will also represent the first time in program history Windsor has sent more than one representative to state.
“I’m so pumped for state,” Ward said, “but I have to stay focused. I can’t celebrate too much. I have to go into state confident and focused, thinking I can keep going.”
Minear also helps coach Ward in basketball. Ward was the starting point guard and second leading soccer for the Wizards’ 18-6 girls hoops team, which advanced to the second round of the state playoffs this past winter.
Minear said the poise and composure Ward displayed Friday on the tennis court was similar to what she exhibited this winter on the hardwood.
“She’s just a great athlete,” Minear said. “She’s hard to rattle, because she does so many things. She just goes out and expects to do well. ... She just has that mentality of a winner.”
Team scores — Niwot 94, Eaton 55, Windsor 51, University 30, Thompson Valley 28, Berthoud 17, Greeley Central 15, Mountain View 5, Sterling 4, Northridge 1, Weld Central 0.
Singles — 1. Amanda Ward (W) def. Mulshine (Niwot), 6-3, 6-2; 2. Londa (Niwot) def. Allison Smerud (U), 6-0, 6-0; 3. Albert (Niwot) def. Sarah Engelhardt (W), 6-0, 6-1.
Doubles — 1. Richards & Derr (Niwot) def. Maddy Shelton & Catherine Harper (E), 7-5, 6-3; 2. Stafford & Sieben (Niwot) def. Hayley Miller & Karen Sigg (E), 6-2, 6-2; 3. Ziel & Lerner (Niwot) def. Emily Harper & Courtney Leafgren (E), 6-3, 4-6, 6-1; 4. Kairamkonda & Aumann (Niwot) def. Avery Jones & Meghan Raisley (E).
Singles — 1. Katiana Uyemura (GC) def. Wellems (B), 7-5, 5-7, 6-4; 2. Hernblom (TV) def. Miranda Siemens (E), 3-6, 6-4, 7-5; 3. Myiah Scott (E) def. Marty (B), 6-1, 6-4.
Doubles — 1. Angela DeSimone & Mikaela Skaare (W) def. Katie Krammer & Alexis Hoecher (UH), 6-2, 7-6(2); 2. Aslami & Mickelson (TV) def. Amanda Steib & Sydney Myers (W), 6-4, 6-3; 3. Baldwin & McKenna (TV) def. Alannah Roth & Annette Dinneback (UH), 6-3, 6-4; 4. Carissa Meline & Nancy Stanley (W) def. Hinds & Quarti (MV), 6-2, 6-4.
Singles — 1. Mulshine (Niwot) def. Uyemura (GC), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4; 2. Smerud (UH) def. Hernblom (TV), 6-4, 6-1.
Doubles — 2. Miller & Sigg (E) def. Aslami & Mickelson (TV), 7-5, 6-2, 6-1; 3. Harper & Leafgren (E) def. Baldwin & McKenna (TV), 6-2, 6-1
“I’m so pumped for state, but I have to stay focused. I can’t celebrate too much. I have to go into state confident and focused, thinking I can keep going.
Amanda Ward, Windsor sophomore tennis player