Steamboat Springs girls tennis team advances seven positions to state |

Steamboat Springs girls tennis team advances seven positions to state

Steamboat Springs High School senior Katelyn Kline lunges for a volley at the net while teammate junior Kara Stanhope looks on against Conifer on Saturday, April 6, at the Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs.
Leah Vann

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs High School girls tennis team won its 15th straight regional title on Thursday, May 2, in Grand Junction.

All three singles competitors and four doubles teams advanced to state while also capturing the team title by defeating Aspen 71-67 in tournament points.

The Sailors got off to a slow start with everyone, but the No. 4 doubles team of seniors Katelyn Kline and Kara Stanhope, dropping their first matches.

“I told them, ‘OK, that was a good warmup,'” head coach Kristyn Wykert said. “They rallied hard, and everyone woke up, and they started playing the tennis where we left off.”

Regionals are a challenge since they follow the week of spring break. Before the break, Wykert said that the girls were playing their best tennis. Once the rust was shaken off, the Sailors started playing to win.

No. 3 singles junior Noelle Cerone held a 4-1 lead in the first set of the finals, but a shoulder injury hampered her play. Cerone dropped the first set, 6-4, then took a medical timeout to recover.

“I think what got her through is, if she won this match, she wouldn’t have to play again today,” Wykert said. “She played her best tennis.”

Cerone went on to win her match in the next two sets 6-3, 6-0 to take first.

No. 2 singles senior Lily Fox had to fight her way to state. She beat Delta for third place 6-2, 6-2, then defeated Paonia, 6-1, 6-3 to earn her spot at state.

No. 1 singles junior Mae Thorp lost a triumphant match in the finals. She dropped the first set in a tiebreaker to make it 7-6, then lost her second set 6-1. Thorp returned to play Vail in the playback round, winning 6-1, 6-1 to secure her spot at state.

The No. 1 doubles team of juniors Morgan Sauerbrey and Lauren Ehrlich dropped its first match to Aspen 6-4, then came back to win 6-4, 6-1 in the finals.

“They didn’t lose their mental edge,” Wykert said. “Losing that first set, a lot of tennis players lose that mental edge, and they want to give up. Those three teams who split just fought even harder in the third and never let up.”

That No. 1 doubles victory sealed the team victory for Steamboat, but there was still a lot of tennis left to play.

The No. 2 doubles team of freshmen Lauren Fullerton and Liesel Wilkinson lost its first match 6-2, 6-2 in the finals, then came back winning a playback round over Delta, 6-2, 6-2 to go to state.

The No. 3 doubles team of junior Soria Rabanal and senior Maddie Heydon lost in three sets, dropping the first 6-4, winning the next two sets 6-3, 6-0.

Stanhope and Kline captured the No. 4 doubles’ title, sweeping Delta 6-2, 6-2.

The Sailors advance to the state tournament, which runs Thursday, May 9, through Saturday, May 11, in Greeley.

“We had two practices and went straight to the regional,” Wykert said. “So we just had our slow start to get used to playing matches again. I don’t know how long it’s been since all seven positions went to state, but that’s huge for the team and that’s going to help us at state.”

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @lvann_sports.

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