Mavs’ new No. 1 singles players will be counted on to lead
Her opponents often shrug her off as a lesser opponent at first glance.
That’s their first mistake.
That slight simply motivates Kate Lowder to prove what she can do.
“Everyone look at me and say, ‘She’s tiny. How can she play No. 1?’ ” said Lowder, who barely stands 5-foot tall. “I have to prove everyone wrong. I was in Florida three weeks ago and everyone thought I was 14. I’m almost 21. It’s frustrating. I have to show them (I belong). It really motivates me.”
The Mesa State College sophomore from Cheyenne, Wyo., is playing No. 1 singles for the Mavericks this spring, replacing RMAC player of the year, Teri Mayeda, who graduated.
“Teri really showed me a lot of things,” Lowder said. “I still look up to Teri. She is such a great person. I learned a lot being around her — like not to get uptight.”
The men’s new No. 1 singles player, Jordan Chomko, can relate to Lowder in some way.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” Chomko said. “I came in my first year of college and get bullied by some upperclassman. You just play your match and let it go.”
The junior from Littleton replaces Joey Coleman, who transferred to Boise State University.
Chomko, who was mostly a doubles player in high school, played No. 2 or 3 singles the past two years.
“Those two set the tone for the rest of the kids,” Mesa State coach Dan MacDonald said. “They are hard-working players. Kate has really stepped up in the last month. She is realizing playing
No. 1 singles, there are no easy matches. The hardest part for her is to figure out the transition game. She doesn’t have to win every point, but her tennis IQ has gone up a bit.
“Jordan’s IQ has always been good, but physically, he’s stronger. He’s mentally stronger too. If he has a bad point, he moves on.”
The two will lead their teams into their first action of the spring this weekend.
The Mesa State College women’s tennis team opens its season Friday with a dual against Southern Utah University at 8 p.m. on Friday at the Junction Tennis Center. The men play Colorado College at 5 p.m. on Saturday in Denver. The women play an important regional dual against Winona State (Minn.) University at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Denver.
The Mesa women, who were 5-0 in the fall portion of the season, are ranked 40th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division II poll and are picked to win the RMAC title in the preseason poll.
“The women’s team has the most depth we’ve had from 1 to 10 since I’ve been here,” MacDonald said. “Amber Armendarez is battling for a spot. The twins have stuff I haven’t seen since I’ve been here. They can hit topspin and move the ball around.”
Sophomore Victoria Sargent of Greenwood Village will play No. 2 singles behind Lowder then senior Renee Demianeu of Athena, Ore., is slotted for the No. 3 spot. The freshmen twins, Kaitlan and Kelleen Sera of Lahaina, Hawaii, are battling for the fourth and fifth singles positions and freshman Mandie Divino of Sandy, Utah, is competing with Armendarez, a Central High graduate, for the sixth spot.
The men (6-0) are ranked 40th in the ITA poll as well, but are picked third in the RMAC.
Junior college transfer Rashad Khamis of Corona, Calif., will play No. 2 singles. He played at Riverside (Calif.) Community College. Nick Provenza, Niko Carrizo and Kevin Nydam return to hold down the No. 3 through 5 spots and freshman Will Kellar is slotted for No. 6.
“The key to the men’s team could be Rashad,” MacDonald said. “He’s playing way better than in the fall. He struggled the first semester with the altitude. Nick is solid and a great competitor.
Niko, Kevin and Willie will need to hold up the bottom of the lineup. I can see a different person stepping up each match.”