AHS girls make history at state tennis tourney | AspenTimes.com

AHS girls make history at state tennis tourney

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

“My new word,” said Sherill Kerr, coach of the Aspen High School girls tennis team, “is ‘prodigious.'”

It might become a common term among local tennis fans as well. An historic performance at the Class 4A state tennis tournament in Pueblo last weekend helped the Skiers collect a fourth-place team finish, as well as a host of individual titles. Aspen sent nine of its 11 players to the state tournament on Friday; of those nine, seven took fourth place or better in their respective divisions.

And the successful trip to state came just one week after the team collected its first-ever Western Slope 4A Regional Tournament championship.

“We won the 4A regional and then placed four points behind the third-place team at state,” Kerr said. “That’s school history, and personal-best history, and I couldn’t be happier.”

Laura Gordon, a senior who will join the UCLA tennis team this fall, followed up her first-place finish at the regional tourney with a third-place state title. Gordon had to face the defending state champion early in the tourney and suffered an early loss. Kerr said she still celebrated her latest title, which will go with her state championship in 2000 and her second-place finish last season.

“She’s a very gracious competitor, and she fought hard,” Kerr said. “It was a very close match, even thought the score didn’t show it. It could have gone either way.”

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Juniors Alex Leddy and Nicole Hernandez, the Skiers’ No. 1 doubles team, also collected a third-place trophy after a nearly three-hour match against AHS rival Mullen. The No. 2 pair of Jacqueline Pearlstone and Brittany Biebl and No. 3 pair Courtney Sheeley and Jennifer Leddy “lost close matches,” Kerr said, and each finished fourth in their division.

Another Aspen pair, the school’s No. 4 team of Christina Schluter and Meredith Hanrahan, won a berth to state during last weekend’s regional tournament but did not place at state.

Aspen finished the Pueblo tournament with 28 points. Kent Denver took first-place honors with 66 points, while Cheyenne Mountain and Mullen took second and third with 58 and 32 points, respectively.

Coming so close to besting Mullen’s score was the highlight of the tournament, Kerr said; the team knocked AHS from state play last year.