For the first time in seven years, Aurora is home to a state champion in girls tennis.
Regis Jesuit sophomores Marie Manassee and Grace Neff claimed the Class 5A state championship at No. 3 doubles in May after three days of play at Gates Tennis Center in Denver and lead the way on the 2018 Sentinel All-Aurora Girls Tennis Team, which is based on state tournament performance.
Manassee and Neff became the Raiders’ first state champions since their last season in 4A — 2011, when No. 3 singles player Kate Carroll and the No. 1 doubles team of Kerbi Brisch and Megan Harrison won titles — and finally broke through for the area, which hadn’t had a state winner in the same time period despite several finals appearances.
The Regis Jesuit duo downed Fort Collins’ Aurora Slaughter and Sunny Taylor 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 in the No. 3 doubles championship match. Along the way to the title, Manassee and Neff knocked off Cherry Creek’s Sydney Haith and Lexie Fisher in the semifinals.
Players from coach Kollman Gearhart’s Regis Jesuit burgeoning young team earned All-Aurora accolades at six positions as the Raiders took nearly the entire team to state.
The Raiders swept the doubles positions (Olivia Martinet and Sara Sinelli at No. 1, Lauren Markel and Kaedyn Mingle at No. 2 and Chloe Martinet and Elizabeth Dewey at No. 4 join Manassee and Neff), while seniors Skyler Mydler and (No. 1 singles) and Miki Erickson (No. 2 singles) take singles slots.
Markel and Mingle made the greatest progress of any of the other Regis Jesuit duos at the state tournament, as they won their first round match, then lost to eventual state champions Anna Fusaris and Hailey Mackiernan of Cherry Creek before winning in three sets in the playback bracket.
The Raiders’ duo took a set lead over Lindy Hickman and Rebecca Kirby of Poudre with a place in the third-place match on the line before the Impalas rallied to win the last two.
The No. 4 duo of Chloe Martinet and Dewey won their first match — prevailing in a tight three-setter over Grandview’s Ashley Oh and Maggie Rea in an all-Aurora opener — but were stopped in a three-set quarterfinal by a team from Boulder.
Olivia Martinet, a senior, and sophomore Sinelli dropped a tight first round state match, then were eliminated when the Fairview duo they lost to fell in the quarterfinals.
In singles play, Erickson — the lone player from an Aurora program to qualify for state — lost her first round match to Denver East’s Emma Eckenhausen 7-5, 6-2, and didn’t get a playback chance when Eckenhausen dropped her quartefinal. Aurora was shut out of the No. 1 singles state bracket, but Mydler (who racked up double-digit wins during the regular season) placed third in the strong Region 7 tournament.
Grandview sophomore Olivia Stubbs earned the All-Aurora No. 3 singles position with two wins in her state debut.
Stubbs — who played No. 2 singles at Cherokee Trail as a freshman, but missed out on qualifying for state — handled Ponderosa’s Grace Liberati in a straight set opening round win before she was downed by eventual state champion Nicole Hill of Cherry Creek in the quarterfinals.
A brisk opening playback bracket victory put Stubbs a win away from the third-place match, but she dropped a competitive match to state tournament veteran Amber Skillicorn of Fruita Monument.
Coach Jeff Ryan’s Grandview team collected eight points at the state tournament, all of which were earned by underclassmen.
Final Class 5A team scores and championship/third-place match results, here.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Sentinel Prep Sports
2018 SENTINEL ALL-AURORA GIRLS TENNIS TEAM
FIRST TEAM — No. 1 singles: Skyler Mydler, Regis Jesuit, sr.; No. 2 singles: Miki Erickson, Regis Jesuit, sr.; No. 3 singles: Olivia Stubbs, Grandview, soph.; No. 1 doubles: Olivia Martinet and Sara Sinelli, Regis Jesuit; No. 2 doubles: Lauren Markel and Kaedyn Mingle, Regis Jesuit; No. 3 doubles: Marie Manassee and Grace Neff, Regis Jesuit; No. 4 doubles: Chloe Martinet and Elizabeth Dewey, Regis Jesuit
HONORABLE MENTION — State qualifiers: Rithika Ginjupalli and Juniel Figures, Grandview (No. 2 doubles); Mia Nguyen and Felicia Tay, Grandview (No. 3 doubles); Ashley Oh and Maggie Rea, Grandview (No. 4 doubles); Non-state qualifiers: Justina Koukeokingthale, sr., Rangeview (No. 1 singles); Valerie Negin, fr., Smoky Hill (No. 1 singles); Amanda Olsen-Dufour, sr., Grandview (No. 2 singles); Sasha Parker, jr., Overland (No. 1 singles); Tanya Solati, sr., Cherokee Trail (No. 3 singles); Amy Wellington, sr., Cherokee Trail (No. 2 singles); Aneri Patel and Rhea Verma, Cherokee Trail (No. 1 doubles); Taylee Hardin and Eleana Welsh, Grandview (No. 1 doubles)