When Cedaredge tennis coach Don McFadden lost his 2 singles player recently, he didn't have to look far for a worthy replacement. Sierra McHugh will finish the season in the No. 2 spot.
McHugh qualified for state last season at 4 doubles and started the season at 3 singles.
And with 23 players on the roster, Coach Mick didn't have any problems finding a solid 3 singles player.
Third-year junior Madison "Madi" Hulteen, who challenged 1 doubles partner Ashlee Love for 3 singles, was ready for the singles life. "I'm going to stay where I am," said Hulteen, who had a couple of matches behind her when Cedaredge and Paonia faced off last week. She hopes to use the remainder of the season to prepare to play at 2 singles her senior year.
In one of her first singles matches, Hulteen lost a lively 6-3, 6-2 match to Paonia senior Lexi Johnson. While Johnson has a full season at singles, she and Hulteen played very competitively.
"We went to deuce a lot," said Hulteen, who was happy with her performance. "She knew really well how to get around you, really good corner shots."
Hulteen said she used the match to work on getting closer to the net to volley.
"It was tough. She's pretty good," said Johnson, who remembers meeting Hulteen in a doubles match two years ago. "But I feel really good about how I played."
Johnson said she's using the corners more and more as she improves and gains confidence and focus. The team has practiced corner shots, cross court and line shots "a lot," said Johnson. "I think I've finally mastered that a little bit."
Johnson said she's also getting better at "approaching net when I need to and staying back when I need to."
"I'm improving by the match," said Johnson, who had her team's only singles win Friday against Vail Mountain. She admits it's easy to lose focus and drop a match. "You have to, like, quit the mind games," she said.
Last year, Johnson was in a similar situation to Hulteen's. After two years of playing doubles, she suddenly found herself playing at 3 singles partway into the season when an injury forced Tyler Rapke to quit at 2 singles. Both players said they hope to meet again. "I think it'd be good to play her again," said Hulteen. "She's pretty good competition."
At 2 singles, Paonia senior Tyler Rapke won a first-round tiebreaker to defeat McHugh, 6-6 (7-5), 7-5. At 1 singles, Annavah Kropp defeated Bruin Jessica Chavalier, 6-4, 6-1.
In doubles play, Love and Katie O'Hern won a lengthy battle with Heather Wilczek and Rosa Medina, 6-6 (7-4), 3-6 (5-10). Bethany Smail and Malca Gordon claimed the 2 doubles win for Cedaredge, defeating Jesse Holt and Jeze Fabijanic, 5-7, 4-6. The Bruins won by forfeit at 3 and 4 doubles.
Cedaredge lost 4-3 to Vail Mountain Saturday afternoon. Hulteen claimed the only singles win, defeating Maddy Bryant, 6-0, 6-0. Love and O'Hern and 3 doubles Cassidy Zamarrippa and Brittany Sullivan also claimed wins for the Bruins.blog comments powered by Disqus