Aspen’s Mary Williams, No. 3 doubles team make it into 3A state tennis semifinals
Aspen High School senior Mary Williams and the team’s No. 3 doubles pair have advanced to the semifinals of the Class 3A girls state tennis championships, which got underway Friday in Greeley.
Williams, playing at No. 1 singles for the fourth straight year, will play against Steamboat Springs junior Mae Thorp at 8 a.m. Saturday in the semis. Williams and Thorp have a long history together and have each found victory over the other. However, Williams is 2-0 against Thorp this season, including haven beaten her in the regional final last week.
“We know each other super well,” Williams told CHSAANow.com. “We have won an equal amount of times against one another. She’s a super-hard hitter, too, so it’ll be good to have pace on the ball.”
After a player dropped out, Williams had a rare first-round bye on Friday. In the quarterfinals, she faced D’Evelyn freshman Grace Li, winning 6-4, 6-2. Li had won 6-0, 6-1 over Fountain Valley sophomore Isa Fernandez in the first round.
“It was a tough match. She played great. The girl made her work,” AHS coach Steve Sand told The Aspen Times. “Mary had to work, but in the end took care of business and she’s got Mae for the third time.”
This is the first time in the state semifinals for Williams. As a freshman at No. 1 singles playing in Class 4A, Williams lost in the first round. As a sophomore in the newly created 3A, she lost in the quarterfinals but fought her way through the playbacks to finish third. Last spring, Williams again lost in the quarters but did not make the playback rounds.
Thorp and Williams have never met in the state tournament. Thorp made the finals at No. 1 singles as a freshman in 2017, losing 6-0, 6-0 to Colorado Academy’s Sammy Moore-Thomson, who had knocked out Williams in the quarterfinals.
Thorp returned to the finals again last spring, losing 6-2, 6-2 to Peak to Peak’s Trisha Somasundaram. William had beaten Somasundaram in the playback semifinals as a sophomore.
The winner between Thorp and Williams will face either Somasundaram or C.S. School’s Jules Thompson in the championship, slated for around 11 a.m. Saturday.
At 3 doubles, Aspen’s Quinn Ramberg and Virginia Tassi cruised through their first two matches, winning 6-1, 6-1 and then 6-1, 6-2 to make the semifinals. They will face the Steamboat Springs duo of Soria Rabanal and Maddie Heydon in the semifinals. Steamboat’s 3 doubles team beat Aspen’s in the regional last week.
As 2 singles, Aspen sophomore Macy Hopkinson won her first-round match 6-0, 6-1, but lost in the second round to Holy Family’s Lindsey Bartoletta, 6-1, 6-0.
At 3 singles, Aspen junior Karina Keller lost in the first round to Peak to Peak sophomore Tiffany Tran, 6-4, 6-1.
At 1 doubles, Aspen’s Addy Walson and Bliss Pekkala lost 7-5, 6-1 to a duo from University. At 2 doubles, Aspen’s Olivia Burkley and Stef Wojcik won 6-2, 6-0 in the first round before losing 6-4, 7-5 in the quarterfinals. AHS did not have a No. 4 doubles team qualify for state.
Any players who made it past the first round could have a chance of getting into the playbacks and battling for third place.
“Overall I’m pleased. You bring this many people and it’s hard to have every match go your way,” Sand said. “You just don’t know who is going to be up or down. But they all put in a lot of effort. It was a good day.”
Originally scheduled to start Thursday, the state tennis tournament was condensed to two days because of the weather.
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The Aspen High School girls soccer team looks a lot different from the last time it played, with many new players and a new coaching staff. But winning has become part of the culture, and it’s so far, so good for the Skiers this spring.