Steamboat’s Mae Thorp again runner up at state tennis
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It wasn’t an entirely disappointing walk off the court Friday for Steamboat Springs High School sophomore Mae Thorp, though that certainly would have been understandable, given the circumstances.
Thorp’s only been in high school for two seasons now, and for the second time, she lost in the championship match in the top singles division at the Class 3A state tournament.
Trisha Somasundaram, a Peak to Peak senior, won the 3A No. 1 singles state title, defeating Thorp 6-2, 6-2.
Disappointing? Ok, yeah, Thorp admitted, but she didn’t walk off with regret.
“I was a little sad, but I was happy I made it that far,” Thorp said. “I wish I had won, but there’s always next year.”
At the rate she’s going, making the state title match in her first two chances, that opportunity is plenty realistic.
Thorp’s second-place finish was the highlight for the Sailors in a tournament in which the rest of the squad failed to get much traction. The team took five entries, Thorp as the only singles player then each of the four doubles teams.
Thorp bashed her way through the first-two rounds of the 16-player bracket Thursday, then tackled the second half of the bracket Friday as the tournament was shortened by a day because of rain forecast for Friday night and Saturday morning, when things were originally supposed to wrap up.
She didn’t start well in Friday’s semifinal against Colorado Springs School freshman Jules Thompson, losing the first set, 6-4. Thorp was almost untouchable in the next two sets, however, going on to win the match 4-6, 6-1, 6-0.
“I think it was nerves in the first match — in that first set — and then that’s when that mental part of her game kicked in,” coach Kristyn Wykert said. “She knew what she had to do, what it would take to win that match, to get to the finals, and she took care of it.”
She wasn’t able to muster a similar rebound in the finals. She adopted a more defensive strategy than she typically plays with, and that helped produce long, drawn-out points against Somasundaram.
Thorp too often was the one to blink first, however.
Somasundaram “made fewer mistakes, unforced mistakes, where Mae made more unforced mistakes, and so she pretty much just outlasted Mae,” Wykert said.
Somasundaram’s Peak to Peak went on to win the team state championship, as well, scoring 55 points. D’Evelyn was just behind in second with 51 while Holy Family placed third at 46. Steamboat ended up sixth with 17 points.
Thorp provided most of those, though the team also got points at No. 1 doubles and No. 4 doubles.
Morgan Sauerbrey and Lauren Ehrlich, the No. 1 doubles team, won their first-round match Thursday then lost a close, three-set match in the quarterfinals, falling 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 to Allie Blank and Isabelle Shehan, of Dawson School.
That pair then lost a grueling match of its own Friday in the semifinals, losing in three sets to a team from University. That semifinal loss eliminated the chance Steamboat’s team could get back into the tournament in the consolation bracket.
The Sailors’ No. 2 doubles team with Amy Speer and Amanda Walker came similarly close to getting back in, as well, but the team that defeated them in the first round, from D’Evelyn, also lost in a three-set semifinal match.
The No. 4 doubles team, with Maria Loop and Christina Hathaway, was the only team to get back in the tournament. They won their first match in the consolation bracket, too, defeating a St. Mary’s pair 7-6, 6-0. They lost to Grace Coster and Evelin Mojica of Holy Family in the consolation semifinals 6-3, 6-3.
“They played with so much heart, and they were trying and they were talking and they came together as a team on the court and tried different strategies,” Wykert said. “In that second match, they were just a little tired, but they did everything they could. They didn’t play bad at all, they just ran into another team that had a little more. I’m really proud of them. They’re both seniors, so watching them work together was really fun.”
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Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021