Cedaredge 3S player Brianna Henrie returns a shot to Amber Rankin of Hotchkiss. The Lady Bruins and Lady Bulldogs faced off in the final matches of the season before heading into regional competition, which begins Thursday morning.
All four Delta County tennis teams wrapped up scheduled matches last Thursday, with Hotchkiss edging out Cedaredge, 4-3, and Delta dominating Paonia.
The 4A Region 8 tournament, which is being hosted by Delta, is expected to be tough for all four schools.
The only school that none of the Delta County teams has gone head to head with this season is Steamboat Springs, largely because of the long-distance travel required.
The Lady Sailors typically dominate the regional tournament, and are the only Western Slope 4A team to produce a state champion in the past four years.
Durango is also a dominant force this season, said Delta head coach Christina Curtis. Lady Panther one doubles Becca Korthuis and Barbara Gutierrez posted a win over Durango at the Delta County tournament, "and we're pretty excited about that," said Curtis.
All in all, it's been a good season for the Lady Panthers, added Curtis, but with 11 seniors, "Next year could be tough."
Paonia one singles Annavah Kropp has been gaining momentum this season and has a shot at getting past the first round. Kropp has had a successful season, but fell to Delta's Alaisa Melgoza, 6-1, 6-3 on Thursday.
Cedaredge coach Don McFadden anticipates a tough day at Canyon View, but praised his team for a good season. "We've definitely turned our game around since the start of the season," said McFadden at the Hotchkiss matches. "Some younger players are doing some really good things," and that bodes well for future seasons.
With their top five players graduating this year, the Lady Bulldogs hope to end the season on a positive note. "We have a wide spectrum of players," said assistant coach Ginnie Farnsworth. She cited the matches against Aspen as a high point of the season.
"We're very proud of our play against Aspen," said Farnsworth, who is finishing her first season of coaching tennis. Aspen's players are well-coached, and with access to courts year-round, they play tough. "That type of game is so mental. Our girls could have just given up, and they didn't."
With 25 players on the Hotchkiss roster, managers, Brydie Mitchell, David Oviedo, Tony Ibarra and Polo Ibarra, who have all played competitive tennis, have been invaluable, added Farnsworth. She noted that that's a sentiment all coaches would extend to their managers. Managers do everything they're asked, and with a good attitude, she said.
Seeding will be announced later today (Wednesday), with the first matches scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. tomorrow, at Canyon View Park.