Colorado’s classically unpredictable weather made for a challenging spring season for the state’s girls prep tennis players.
The constant disruption of schedules and tournaments likely contributed in part to an atypically small contingent of state qualifiers for Aurora, which saw Regis Jesuit as the lone program to get anybody into the Class 5A individual state tournament.
The Raiders — in their first season under Jenn Armstrong as head coach — qualified for the inaugural 5A state team tournament (which included 16 teams) and had all three singles players and four doubles make it to the individual state tournament. Those players form the entire 2023 Sentinel Colorado All-Aurora Girls Tennis Team, which is based on season and state results.
Leading the way for Regis Jesuit was the No. 1 doubles team of senior Quinn Binaxas and junior Mary Clare Watts, who finished as the 5A state runners-up.
The duo earned the Raiders’ lone win in a 6-1 5A team quarterfinal loss to eventual state champion Cherry Creek, won the championship at the Region 6 tournament and made it to the final before they fell in three sets to an undefeated team from Fairview.
As a team, Binaxas and Watts lost just once in the regular season (to a team from Mountain Vista in an abbreviated match at the Western Slope Invitational) and then reeled off 15 straight wins to reach the final. They took a set lead over Fairview’s Virginia Gomulka and Elizabeth Roth, but the Knights’ duo — playing in the state championship match for a third straight season — won the final two sets to complete an undefeated season.
Watts appeared at state for a third straight season and placed in the top four for a second time, while Binaxas — who played at No. 2 singles last season — placed for the first time.
Two other Regis Jesuit doubles teams won their first round state tournament matches — the No. 2 duo of junior Brenna Radebaugh and sophomore Ebba Svard and the No. 3 tandem of junior Elise Holt and freshman Otilya Martino — before they lost in the quarterfinals to teams that went on to the state championship matches in their respective brackets.
Weather disruption eliminated the playback brackets in 5A, however, which prevented both teams from coming back with a chance for third. The No. 4 team of sophomores Cait Carolan and Lily Beebe — which won a regional championship — lost in the opening round.
The teams of Radebaugh and Svard plus Holt and Martino each qualified for state via playback victories at regionals.
Regis Jesuit’s singles contingent of senior Madison Wei at No. 1 (a three-time state qualifier who has signed to play at Hope College in Michigan), senior Paige Wolf at No. 2 (who was back at state after missing last season due to injury) and junior Lucy Filipini (also a three-time state qualifier who teamed with Watts to place fourth at No. 1 doubles last season) all were defeated in the opening round of the state tournament.
None of the three singles players would have had an opportunity for a playback as the player they lost to got eliminated in subsequent rounds.
Wei finished the season with 11 victories, Wolf had nine and Filipini five.
NOTE: An Aurora program did have a state qualifier in 4A in Vista PEAK freshman Francesca Johnson, who made it at No. 1 singles. She was the Bison’s first-ever state qualifier and the first for an Aurora Public Schools team since 2011.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at email@example.com. Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2023 SENTINEL COLORADO ALL-AURORA GIRLS TENNIS TEAM
No. 1 singles — Madison Wei, sr., Regis Jesuit
No. 2 singles — Paige Wolf, sr., Regis Jesuit
No. 3 singles — Lucy Filippini, jr., Regis Jesuit
No. 1 doubles — Quinn Binaxas, sr. and Mary Clare Watts, jr., Regis Jesuit
No. 2 doubles — Brenna Radebaugh, jr. and Ebba Svard, soph., Regis Jesuit
No. 3 doubles — Elise Holt, jr. and Otilya Martino, fr., Regis Jesuit
No. 4 doubles — Cait Carolan, soph. and Lily Beebe, soph., Regis Jesuit
Honorable mention: Francesca Johnson, fr., Vista PEAK