Girls Tennis: Regis Jesuit’s Chirico, No. 2 doubles teams nab 3rd places in 5A debut

Regis Jesuit's Catherine Nemechek
Regis Jesuit’s Catherine Nemechek makes a return during a quarterfinal match of the Class 5A girls state tennis tournament May 10 at Denver South High School. The Regis Jesuit No. 2 doubles team of Nemechek and Jessica Butler placed third. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

DENVER | Regis Jesuit’s first trip to the Class 5A girls state tennis tournament turned out just as well as its last one in 4A.

The Raiders had two third-place finishers after two days of a play at the rain-shortened 5A tournament at the Gates Tennis Center, as both sophomore No. 2 singles player Haley Chirico and the No. 2 doubles tandem of Catherine Nemechek and Jessica Butler won the consolation finals to match the team’s output last season in Pueblo.

With just four state qualifiers, coach Kollman Gearhart’s Regis Jesuit team finished in sixth place with 18 points. Cherry Creek had three individual state champions and won the team title by a comfortable margin over Fossil Ridge, which had all four doubles teams make finals, but won just one of those matches.

Fairview, Denver East and Arapahoe finished ahead of the Raiders in a tournament that tightened up in the middle.

Chirico finished with her second third-place finish in as many state tournament appearances. She took third in the 4A ranks last season in Pueblo and duplicated the feat at the 5A tournament with 7-5, 6-1 victory over Ralston Valley’s Isabella Melena on Saturday morning.

She rebounded from an emotionally charged two-set quarterfinal loss to Fairview freshman Nicole Munson — the eventual runner-up — to win twice in the consolation playback bracket.

Nemechek and Butler rallied from a set down in their opening round match — which was played at an alternate site, Denver South High School, because of the rain that forced officials to scrub the first day of play Thursday — to make the quarterfinals, where they fell to eventual runners-up Nicole Newell and Lauren Rhoda of Fossil Ridge 6-1, 6-2.

Regis Jesuit's Jessica Butler
Regis Jesuit’s Jessica Butler serves during a quarterfinal match at the Class 5A girls state tennis tournament. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

The Raiders’ duo then won their two consolation matches, capped off by a 6-3, 7-6 victory over Poudre’s Koy Ecton and Raven Dick.

Regis Jesuit No. 1 singles player Shelby Cerkovnik saw her playback chance evaporate when Arapahoe freshman Tate Schroeder, who beat her in the quarterfinals, lost to Pine Creek’s Nicole Calhorn in the semifinals.

The No. 1 doubles team of Anna Finch and Erica Dodson — who played No. 4 doubles last season — dropped their first-round match in two sets to Lakewood’s Sasha Harrison and Schafer Kowalchik and got eliminated when the Tigers lost to a duo from Fossil Ridge in the second round.

Cherokee Trail senior Sydney Reese got just one match at No. 3 singles in her second trip to the state tournament: a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Ralston Valley’s Megan Wewel, who lost in the quarterfinals.

Reese played one match at state the previous season as part of a doubles team.

Notes: The tournament marked the arrival of a new wave of young singles players, as three freshmen and a sophomore advanced to the title matches at the No. 1 and No. 2 positions. Loveland freshman star Becca Weissman won the No. 1 singles championship with a straight-set victory over Pine Creek sophomore Nicole Kalhorn, who also finished second last season as a freshman. A battle of freshmen at No. 2 singles went to Cherry Creek’s Gloria Son, who won a 7-5, 6-1 decision over Fairview’s Natalie Munson.

Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555


(May 10-11 at Gates Tennis Center)

Team scores: Cherry Creek 67, Fossil Ridge 46, Fairview 43, Denver East 20, Arapahoe 19, REGIS JESUIT 18, Loveland 17, Pine Creek 14, Heritage 14, Ponderosa 12, Ralston Valley 11, Highlands Ranch 11, Lakewood 8, Poudre 6, ThunderRidge 6, Rock Canyon 4, Doherty 3, Chatfield 2, Legend 2, Fort Collins 1

Championship matches

No. 1 singles: Becca Weissmann (Loveland) def. Nicole Kalhorn (Pine Creek), 6-3, 6-1

No. 2 singles: Gloria Son (Cherry Creek) def. Natalie Munson (Fairview), 7-5, 6-1

No. 3 singles: Katie Li (Fairview) def. Natalia Dellavalle (Denver East), 6-2, 6-4

No. 1 doubles: Madeline Bernstein/Julie Berlinger (Cherry Creek) def. Andrea Motley/Shelby Mavis (Fossil Ridge), 6-0, 3-6, 6-3

No. 2 doubles: Morgan Cohen/Mia Hoover (Cherry Creek) def. Nicole Newell/Lauren Rhoda (Fossil Ridge), 6-1, 6-4

No. 3 doubles: Sam Penhale/Sam Lockwood (Fossil Ridge) def. Madelyne Roberts/Julia Maninno (Cherry Creek), 1-6, 7-5, 7-6

No. 4 doubles: Callie Nicoulin/Lauren Myers (Arapahoe) def. Tara Teslow/Taylor Topeke (Fossil Ridge), 6-3, 6-2

Aurora third-place matches

No. 2 singles: Haley Chirico (Regis Jesuit) def. Isabella Melena (Ralston Valley), 7-5, 6-1

No. 2 doubles: Catherine Nemechek/Jessica Butler (Regis Jesuit) def. Koy Ecton/Raven Dick (Poudre), 6-3, 7-6

Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555