Cherry Creek wrapped up another CHSAA girls state tennis championship on May 11, and the Bruins’ doubles depth once again was a key factor.
“Doubles matches are very important,” said sophomore Halley Mackiernan. “Doubles is a cool thing to do. It is super fun to play doubles and have a teammate on the court with you and playing together.
“Even though it looks like singles matters the most, I feel doubles are so important and it’s great to accomplish what we did.”
Creek’s doubles teams won three state titles in the tournament that was shortened to two days because of weather. A fourth Bruins doubles pair were runners-up in the meet at the Gates Tennis Center.
Doubles teams won 47 points for Creek, which easily won the tournament with 74 points. Chatfield finished second in the team standings, 31 points behind the Bruins.
Machiernan and her partner Anna Fusaris won the No. 1 doubles title with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Hanna Preiss and Julie Scimeca of Fossil Ridge. It was the second straight state championship for Machiernan and Fusaris, who won at No. 2 doubles as freshman last season.
“It’s just great knowing your partner so well,” said Fusaris. “I like to know what Halley is going to hit. I know what she can hit and what she can’t so I’m always ready to be there. I know where she is going to serve most of the time.”
Kaki Canton and Miranda Kawula won the No. 2 doubles crown and Ella Barclay and Dahlia Rappaport captured the No. 4 doubles title. Oilivia Vreeman and Vivienne Bersin were second at No. 3 doubles.
Creek senior Sayuri Garud won the No. 3 singles title and Eliza Hill, the defending No. 2 singles champion, finished third at No. 1 singles for the Bruins.
The team championship was the third straight for Creek who has won 22 of the past 23 state titles. Creek has now won 36 state girls tennis championships.
“Each group is so different,” said Creek girls tennis coach Chris Jacob. “To see them connect and see what they struggle with during the school year whether it is on the court or off the court and to see them come together to support each other is a beautiful thing. And it keeps getting better and better every year.”
And Creek’s quality doubles depth is a key in its string of state titles.
“We work really hard on doubles and doubles strategy because a lot of the tournaments the girls play coming in are singles and once we know who are doubles players are we spend a lot of time on doubles instruction,” Jacob said. “It’s good for them too because that’s what they are going to play and most of the time when they are older too.”
Jacob was also pleased to see Garud win a title after finishing second as a freshman and third as a sophomore. Garud took time off to focus on academics as a junior.
“I love this tournament and it feels good to win,” said Garud. “It didn’t help tennis-wise but I just stopped playing tennis for a year. The first couple matches this season were a little tough. I don’t know if I’m any better. I am mentally improved. I really wanted to play tennis.”
Smoky Hill sophomore Valerie Negin captured the No. 1 singles championship with a three-set victory over Sophie Pearson of Fairview.
The title match was the third three-set win in the tournament and came against Fairview’s Sophie Pearson in which she broke service twice in the third set.
The championship win came following a tough three-set semifinal win in the morning over ThunderRidge’s Veronika Bruetting.
However, Negin didn’t rest much between the semis and finals. She practiced instead of putting her feet up and resting.
“I practiced for 30 minutes,” she said. “I was just hitting balls and getting rid of nerves. The last match was my best match. I didn’t focus on service breaks. I just went out there and did whatever I could to win points.
“I just kind of had to suck it up and play because it was the finals. It is either I lose and don’t fight or I fight and win. Sophie played so great and I am honored for this opportunity but it’s crazy.”
Negin is the first singles champion from Smoky Hill in 32 seasons.
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