Preps May 2: Aspen girls tennis takes second at regionals, qualifies nine for state championships
If Aspen High School senior Mary Williams has a nemesis, it would certainly be Steamboat Springs junior Mae Thorp. The pair have tangoed numerous times over the past three years, and met once again in their Class 3A regional final on Thursday in Grand Junction.
Thorp had the hotter racket last spring, but in what could have been their final matchup it was Williams who prevailed to take the regional title 7-6 (7-4), 6-1. Williams beat Thorp for the 2017 regional title, as well, before losing to her a year ago.
More importantly, Williams was one of nine Skiers to qualify for next week’s state tennis championships in Greeley.
“They played great,” AHS coach Steve Sand said. “Came up one match short of winning regionals, but some amazing results. I’m proud of the girls.”
Steamboat won the regional team title with 71 points, while Aspen came in second with 67 points. It was the 14th regional title in 15 years for the Sailors, Aspen’s team title in 2017 having snapped a 12-year streak for the team from Routt County.
Aspen qualified all but its No. 4 doubles team for the state tournament. That team of Sadie Bakyo and Rose Becker still had a good showing, finishing third at regionals.
Joining Williams as regional champions from Aspen are sophomore Macy Hopkinson, who won at No. 2 singles, and the No. 2 doubles team of Olivia Burkley and Stef Wojcik, who won 6-2, 6-2 in the final over a duo from Steamboat.
Hopkinson beat Paonia’s Jaquelin Mora in the regional final, 7-5, 6-3. The two had played as recently as April 19 in Aspen, Mora winning that contest 6-3, 6-4.
“Macy, again, came up big in the final, changed her mindset a little I think from that first match and was able to pull it out,” Sand said. “Macy had a great tournament. In the semifinals she beat a great player from Steamboat, Lily Fox. Played probably I’d say her best match of the year in the semifinals.”
Not winning the regional title but still qualifying for state from Aspen are No. 3 singles player Karina Keller, the No. 1 doubles team of Addy Walson and Bliss Pekkala, and the No. 3 doubles team of Quinn Ramberg and Virginia Tassi.
The nine total players qualified is likely one of the largest in school history, according to Sand, and could make them a factor in the team standings come state. Last year the Skiers sent five to the state championships.
“I’m hoping all of them can do well and make a run,” Sand said. “With that many, we are hoping to rack up some points with all these girls. If a couple of them make a run, we could be fighting for that team title.”
The Skiers will leave Wednesday for Greeley, with the state tournament getting underway Thursday morning.
Aspen girls lacrosse beats Fruita, one game away from perfection
In what looked like it had potential to be a competitive game Thursday, based off records, the Aspen High School girls lacrosse team rolled to an easy 18-0 win at Fruita Monument. The Wildcats dropped to 9-5 overall, while the No. 8-ranked Skiers improved to 14-0 with only a single game remaining in the regular season.
All that stands between them and getting to 15-0 is a struggling Telluride team. They’ll play at noon on Saturday in the regular-season finale in Aspen. AHS continues to sit comfortably in the top five of the RPI, which will largely determine postseason seeding.
Also Saturday, the AHS boys lacrosse team will host Telluride around 2 p.m., after the girls game. Before that, the Aspen boys are slated to host Durango at 4 p.m. Friday on Iselin. With a recent surge and favorable RPI, even one win over these final two games would go a long way in securing the Skiers a playoff spot.
At 6 p.m. Friday, the Aspen girls soccer team will host Basalt in its regular-season finale on the AHS turf.
Aspen baseball plays tough with Summit before falling 6-2
The Aspen High School baseball team played one of its best games of the season on Thursday in a 6-2 loss to Summit at Crawford Field in El Jebel.
The Skiers fell into a 4-0 hole after two innings and then trailed 6-0 entering the bottom of the sixth before rallying with two runs in the bottom of that frame. Aspen had bases loaded with one out in the sixth but was limited to the two runs.
Summit improved to 5-14 overall while Aspen fell to 0-15. The Skiers next play a doubleheader at Moffat County on Saturday.
Basalt baseball is at Olathe Saturday.
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Down at halftime — a rare occurrence for the Aspen High School girls lacrosse team — the young Skiers rallied back on Wednesday for a key, early-season 8-6 win over Battle Mountain. Senior Kylie Kenny led that onslaught with three goals in the span of about four minutes for the victory.