Cedaredge 4Doubles players Katie O’Hern, left, and Sierra McHugh are the first Cedaredge players to qualify for state in tennis since 2004. the team lost in the opening matches, but were happy to be going to state.
The Cedaredge 4 doubles team of Katie O'Hern and Seirra McHugh qualified for state competition after placing second at the 4A Region 8 tournament on May 3-4. They are the first players from Cedaredge to qualify since 2004, according to head coach Don McFadden.
"Coach Mick" said at last week's practice that he was preparing them by "doing what we always do," and that's sticking to the basics: ground strokes, volleys and serves.
O'Hern and McHugh initially placed third at regionals, then challenged Delta's Rachel Tallent and Emily Kuta to a playback, after they placed second. The two teams had met earlier in the season, with O'Hern and McHugh losing in a double tie-breaker.
They were seeded fourth going into regionals, and Delta was seeded third. "We knew we were going to do well," said O'Hern. "I think we were both a little worried. We knew that we could beat them, because we got so close last time." A day earlier they struggled with their game, but on finals day, they played two great matches, including their win over Montrose to place third. They were at their best and rested going into the playback. Both teams were well-matched in the first set, and in the second set, Cedaredge took a 4-1 advantage. Delta tied it at 4-4, "So that was kind of a scary moment," recalled McHugh.
O'Hern dropped to her knees and cried after the winning point. 'It was probably the best moment ever, because I look over and she looks like she's Tebow-ing, and she's crying," said McHugh.
Their teammates celebrated by showering them with water
O'Hern and McHugh, both sophomores, joined the team their freshman year. Prior to that, "My parents played, but I never even picked up a tennis racket," said McHugh.
Neither had O'Hern, who joined "Just to see if I like it."
Their freshman year, O'Hern played at 4D and McHugh was an alternate. They teamed up at the start of this season.
"From the beginning of the year, that was our goal, to make it to state," said McHugh.
The two are also long-time friends. "Sierra and I have been friends since we were little, real little," said McHugh. "So it's pretty awesome that we both get to go."
O'Hern and McHugh didn't know what to expect at state, but McFadden, who just finished his 34th year of coaching, said that they can expect "to see lots of really good tennis." The two were eliminated in the first round after losing to Rebeka Cowley and Ashley Wright of Longmont, 6-4, 6-1, but they weren't expecting wins. Many of the players who qualify for state dedicate their lives to the sport and come from towns where tennis is a year-round game.
"They were down 0-5 in the second set, and came back," said McFadden. "They are good kids. They did me proud."
The two hope to move up the doubles ladder next year, and plan to stick with it at least through their senior year.