State tourney a struggle for locals
DENVER — Central’s Aimee Basinski and Fruita Monument’s Meredith Soychak were in fairly similar situations Thursday during the opening two rounds of the Class 5A girls tennis state tournament.
Basinski, a junior, qualified for state for the first time last season but lost her lone match before making the long return trip home. Soychak is a senior, but until this year she had never qualified for state.
On Thursday, both athletes notched their first victories at the state tournament, highlighting a performance by local squads that also included a scintillating two-match run by the No. 3 doubles team from Grand Junction.
Both singles players, the Tigers’ doubles team, and the three Grand Junction singles players who lost in the first round will find out this morning if they will be able to extend their seasons in the playback brackets.
“I was the only person on my team to make it, and I won regionals, so I’m kind of proud,” Soychak said. “I was pretty excited. I had played my first-round girl before in a tournament, and I had won that. So I had the confidence that I could win.”
Soychak, playing in the No. 2 singles draw, outlasted Rhiannon Johnson of Ponderosa in a three-set thriller in the opening round Thursday morning at the Gates Tennis Center. Soychak’s run in the championship bracket ended with a 6-1, 6-2 loss to Cherry Creek’s Lindsey Pond in the second round.
Basinski, playing at No. 1 singles, defeated Renee Christopher in straight sets in the first round before losing to Pine Creek freshman Nicole Kalhorn in the second round.
Although Grand Junction suffered first-round losses in all three singles draws, the No. 3 doubles team of Natalie Sufka and Carsyn Fritzler recorded a first-round win in straight sets against the top team from Doherty before running out of gas against Poudre in the second round.
The Tigers duo won the first set 6-3 and had a sizeable lead in the second round before Poudre rallied for the three-set win.
“We just didn’t close it out,” Grand Junction coach Carol Elliott said. “We got a little tentative and they got aggressive and got some confidence up. We just didn’t get the job done, which is unfortunate. But hopefully we’ll get some playbacks.”
With adverse weather expected to roll into the area today, officials from the Colorado High School Activities Association are making alternative plans for the tournament. Coaches have been advised to prepare for several scenarios, including moving the tournament indoors, extending it to Sunday if necessary, or even playing the entire remainder of the tournament today if the weather cooperates.
The start time for today’s matches has been moved up an hour to 8 a.m. in hopes of beating the weather.
Cedaredge’s Sierra McHugh and Katie O’Hern lost their No. 4 doubles first-round match to Rebeka Cowley and Ashley Wright of Longmont, 6-4, 6-1.
Cheyenne Mountain leads after the first day with 21 points. D’Evelyn is in second with 16, followed by Kent Denver’s 10.