Skiers tennis takes third regional title
Behind a clutch performance from the No. 3 doubles pair of juniors Maggie Hoffman and Teagan Walter, the Aspen High School girls tennis team captured its third consecutive regional tournament title on Saturday at Grand Mesa College in Grand Junction.
Hoffman and Walter won the No. 3 doubles position title over opponents from Hotchkiss to lift Aspen past Hotchkiss, 55 to 52, for the team championship in the Class 4A Western Slope regional tournament.
“They pushed us over the top,” said Aspen coach Sherril Kerr. “We were tied at that point, so they clinched it for us.”
The Aspen girls won their first-ever regional title three seasons ago and last year they eked out a one-point team victory over Steamboat Springs to repeat.
“Now we’re a triple threat,” said Kerr.
Seven of Aspen’s 11 varsity players also qualified for the Class 4A state tournament, slated for Thursday to Saturday in Pueblo.
At No. 1 singles, Aspen senior Alex Leddy qualified for her fourth state tournament with a runner-up finish and overall gutsy performance.
“She was a warrior out there,” said Kerr. “She had major blisters on both feet and at one point [in the finals] had to stop and take an injury timeout. But she came back and she competed … and then she had to play a play-back match against a Hotchkiss player that went three sets to earn her spots at states.”
Leddy’s younger sister Alex, a junior, took third place with a consolation title victory over another Hotchkiss player, chalking up valuable team points for AHS even though she was out of contention for the state tourney at that point. “She fought for some crucial points for the team,” said Kerr.
Aspen’s other state tourney qualifiers included the No. 1 doubles team of juniors Caitlin Dunn and Reilly Gallagher and the No. 2 doubles pair of sophomore Baylee Zwart and freshman Robin Landis. Both teams finished second, losing only in the finals.
Kerr said the team will continue to fine-tune this week in preparation for the state tournament.
“You can’t change anything now,” said Kerr, “so we’re just trying to fix a couple little things. It’s just more of the same, really.”
Aspen’s No. 4 doubles team missed the cut for qualifying for states but played honorably nonetheless, Kerr said. Freshman Katie Knowlton’s regular partner, Caitlin Carlson, was out with an injury, so fellow freshman and JV regular Demetra Kayne filled in.
“They were the most unlikely to win a match but they pushed it and nearly pulled off two upsets,” said Kerr. “They’re freshmen, so they have a bright future.”
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The 2020-21 Nordic combined season was supposed to be historic. This winter was going to be the first ever with women’s Nordic combined World Cup events, the first scheduled for Dec. 3-6 in Lillehammer, Norway.