PUEBLO — The tennis program at Windsor High School is just 11 years in the making. The Wizards sent two singles players to state this year — and just four total in the previous 10 years.
No. 1 singles player Amanda Ward’s stay at state was brief as she fell to Mullen’s Emma Shilling 6-3, 6-2. Shilling then lost so there is no playback for Ward.
At No. 3 singles, Sarah Engelhardt, a foreign exchange student from Germany, shocked Steamboat Springs’ Maddie Labor 6-4, 7-5 in the first round and then fell to Valor’s Meghan McDuff 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
“I’m more shocked than anyone because Sarah didn’t even make all-conference,” Wizards first-year coach Chris Minear said. “For us to get two players to state is a big deal since we lost (seven) off last year’s team. We’re growing as a program and our numbers are good.”
Eaton’s Maddy Shelton and Catherine Harper, meanwhile, make no apologies for being loud on the tennis court.
They pump up the volume — yapping before, after and especially during points — and that is music to any coach’s ears.
It also energizes the Eaton’s No. 1 doubles team.
“We know we’re loud. We fire each other up and we get in the heads of our opponents,” Shelton, a senior, said with a laugh. “If we’re quiet out there, something’s wrong.”
Said Harper, a junior: “If we don’t talk, our game goes downhill fast.”
The two talked up a storm Thursday, the first day of the Class 4A Girls Tennis Championships at the City Park Tennis Complex.
The Eaton tandem beat Pueblo West’s Taylor Gaide and Serena McCown 6-0, 7-6 (5) in the first round and then rolled Valor Christian’s Annie Hertel and Tiffany Parobek 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
They advanced into the semifinals against Cheyenne Mountain’s Ally Arenson and Casey Ahrendsen at 9 a.m. today.
Shelton and Harper were down 5-2 to the Pueblo West team in the second set but rallied to win in the tiebreaker. That set the tone for the rest of the day.
“We wanted to end it,” said Shelton, rather than going a third set. “We felt like we could get back in it and we did.
“We play better against better competition and we knew that was going to be a tough match,” Shelton added.
Class 4A Girls Tennis Championships
Pueblo City Park
No. 1 singles — Emma Shilling, Mullen, def. Amanda Ward, Windsor, 6-3, 6-2; No. 2 singles — Sarah Engelhardt, Windsor def. Maddie Labor, Steamboat Springs 6-4, 7-5; No. 1 doubles — Catherine Harper& Maddy Shelton, Eaton def. Serena McCown & Taylor Gaide, Pueblo West 6-0, 7-6 (5); No 2 doubles — Karen Sigg & Hayley Miller, Eaton def. Maddie Thompson-Lily Petersen, Steamboat Springs 3-6, 6-0, 6-4. No. 3 doubles — Courtney Leafgren & Emily Harper, Eaton def. Sydney Boyd & Shannon Ross, Steamboat Springs 6-0, 7-6 (5); No. 4 doubles — Emilie Benedict & Jackie Pettet Valor Christian def. Meghan Raisley & Avery Jones, Eaton, 6-0, 6-3.
No. 2 singles — Meghan McDuff, Valor Christian, def. Engelhardt 6-2, 6-2; No. 1 doubles — Shelton & Harper def. Annie Hertel & Tiffany Parobek, Valor Christian, 6-4, 6-3