DENVER | Anshika Singh’s returned to the Class 5A girls state tennis tournament Thursday like she never left it.
Singh won the No. 2 singles state championship at the Gates Tennis Center as a freshman in 2015 and after a year hiatus — due to her academically-motivated transfer to Smoky Hill — she is a step from playing for the No. 1 singles crown at the same venue.
The Buffaloes’ junior won twice on the opening day to move into Friday’s 9 a.m. semifinal round, where she’ll face off against ThunderRidge freshman Veronika Bruetting. Bruetting kept Singh from playing one of her former Cherry Creek teammates — Micha Handler — by rallying to win a three-set quarterfinal.
Mountain Vista senior Casey Zhong and Poudre junior Ky Ecton play in the other No. 1 singles semifinal.
Singh got a stiff challenge in the quarterfinals from Regis Jesuit junior Skyler Mydler in an all-Aurora matchup before eventually prevailing 6-4, 6-1. Singh hadn’t dropped more than three games in a set all season, but trailed Mydler 2-1 early before finding her groove.
Singh partially attributed the slow start to sitting around for several hours between matches and felt better about her performance in the second set, when she finally found a rhythm against a fired-up Mydler, who now needs a Singh victory in the semifinals to earn a playback.
With her two wins — which also included a swift 6-0, 6-0 win in just 35 minutes over Dakota Ridge’s Kellie Geschwenter in the first round — Singh collected three points for Smoky Hill, putting the program on the scoreboard at the state tournament for the first time since 2005.
The last time the Buffaloes had a placer at the state tournament was in 2004, when the No. 4 doubles team of Kasey Krall and Rochelle Poell claimed fourth at No. 4 doubles.
Patti Urban is the last No. 1 singles champion for Smoky Hill and won the last of her three consecutive state titles in 1987.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2017 CLASS 5A GIRLS STATE TENNIS TOURNAMENT (DAY ONE)
Team scores: 1. Cherry Creek 13 points; T2. Ponderosa 12; T12. Mountain Vista 12; 4. Denver East 10; 5. Heritage 6; 6. Fairview 5; T7. GRANDVIEW 4; T7. Poudre 4; T7. Fossil Ridge 4; T7. Rock Canyon 4; T11. SMOKY HILL 3; T11. Ralston Valley 3; T11. ThunderRidge 3; T11. Chatfield 3; 15. REGIS JESUIT 2; T16. Lakewood 1; T16. Boulder 1; T16. Broomfield 1; T16. Arapahoe 1; T16. Fruita Monument 1; T16. Grand Junction 1
Smoky Hill quarterfinals
No. 1 singles — ANSHIKA SINGH (SMOKY HILL) def. SKYLER MYDLER (REGIS JESUIT), 6-4, 6-1
Smoky Hill first round
No. 1 singles — ANSHIKA SINGH (SMOKY HILL) def. Kellie Geschwenter (Dakota Ridge), 6-0, 6-0