AURORA | The courts at the Gates Tennis Center will hold plenty of action for Aurora at the Class 5A girls state tennis tournament with five singles players and eight doubles teams — representing four city programs — earned the right to play there.
Draws for the May 9-11 5A state tournament are due out on Monday from the Colorado High School Activities Association and will include six positions from Regis Jesuit, four positions from Grandview, two from Cherokee Trail and one from Smoky Hill.
The most successful regional for Aurora results turned out to be Region 8 at Colorado Mesa University, which saw Regis Jesuit win the tournament over host Fruita Monument, with Cherokee Trail coming in third in the final standings.
City players won Region 8 championships at all three singles positions — Cherokee Trail freshman Alissa Gurkovskiy at No. 1 singles and junior teammate Nicole Ahn at No. 2 singles and Regis Jesuit senior Elizabeth Dewey — as well as No. 1 doubles (juniors Sarah Sinelli and Marie Manassee) and No. 4 doubles (senior Laura Tschatschula and sophomor Ally Gosser).
All of those regional champions automatically advanced to the 5A state tournament (where they will have top seeds), while Regis Jesuit junior Grace Neff qualified as well as the No. 1 singles, as did the No. 2 doubles team of juniors Carly Markowski and Emliy Smith and the No. 3 doubles duo of junior Chloe Martinet and sophomore Tara Connolly (who got in by virtue of a playback victory).
The state contingent for coach Hailey Johnson’s Regis Jesuit team includes a number of veterans in Neff and Manassee (three-time state qualifiers who return in different positions after they won a state championship together last season at No. 3 doubles and played together at state at No. 4 doubles the year before), plus Sinelli — a state qualifier for the second year in a row at No. 1 doubles after she made it at No. 2 doubles in 2017 — along with Martinet and Dewey, who played together as the No. 4 doubles team at state last season.
Gurkovskiy and Ahn make their state debuts and give Cherokee Trail a presence at the state tournament for the first time since 2013, when Sydney Reese qualified at No. 3 singles. Coach Paul Whipple’s Cougars have multiple state qualifiers for the first time 2012.
Grandview found itself in a very tough Region 6 tournament at the Colorado Athletic Club Monaco, but came away with qualifying spots for all four of its doubles teams.
Coach Jeff Ryan’s Wolves had regional championships from the No. 2 doubles team of seniors Rithika Ginjupalli and Juniel Figures and the No. 3 duo of junior Ashley Oh and freshman Amelia Pulsipher. The No. 1 doubles team of senior Felicia Tay and junior Mia Nguyen and the No. 4 doubles team of junior Chloe Coles and sophomore Leah Hardin both won playbacks to earn their state trips.
Ginjupalli and Nguyen will play at the state tournament for the third time in their respective careers, while Figures and Oh earned a second chance to play.
Smoky Hill sophomore Valerie Negin won the No. 1 singles bracket of the Region 2 tournament in Fort Collins to earn her first trip to the state tournament. Negin ends a brief absence from state for coach Jeffrey Davis’ Buffaloes, who had the No. 1 singles state runner-up in 2017 in Anshika Singh.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Sentinel Prep Sports
AURORA 2019 CLASS 5A GIRLS STATE TENNIS TOURNAMENT QUALIFIERS
Cherokee Trail: Alissa Gurkovskiy (No. 1 singles), Nicole Ahn (No. 2 singles)
Grandview: Mia Nguyen & Felicia Tay (No. 1 doubles), Juniel Figures & Rithika Gingupalli (No. 2 doubles), Ashley Oh & Amelia Pulsipher (No. 3 doubles), Chloe Coles & Leah Hardin (No. 4 doubles)
Regis Jesuit: Grace Neff (No. 1 singles), Elizabeth Dewey (No. 3 singles), Sarah Sinelli & Marie Manassee (No. 1 doubles), Emily Smith & Carly Markowski (No. 2 doubles), Tara Connolly & Chloe Martinet (No. 3 doubles), Ally Gosser & Laura Tschatschula (No. 4 doubles)
Smoky Hill: Valerie Negin (No. 1 singles)