With several trips to the state tournament on the line, the Durango High School girls tennis team has every member still mathematically alive at regionals.
Although, after Day 1 of two at the Class 4A regional tournament in Grand Junction, some are more alive than others.
Two players or doubles teams from each division qualify for state next week in Pueblo. The winner of each bracket advances, and the third-place finisher can challenge the runner-up for the final spot provided the two haven’t already met.
By virtue of being seeded in the top four out of 12 teams as a whole, every Durango player received a bye into the second round.
At No. 1 singles, freshman Eva-Lou Edwards kept right on rolling. Edwards moved into Friday's finals against Steamboat Springs and remained undefeated on the year with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Delta and a 6-0, 6-0 whitewashing of Glenwood Springs.
Joining her in the finals will be Durango’s No. 2 and No. 3 doubles squads. The No. 2 tandem of Hannah Davies and Gina Gates rolled past Glenwood Springs 6-0, 6-1 before edging Delta 7-5, 6-2 and will play Steamboat Springs on Friday.
At No. 3 doubles, Kelsey Smith and Julia Nass took the same route, beating Glenwood Springs 6-4, 6-2 and Delta 6-2, 6-0 to set up a match Friday with Steamboat Springs.
“Our twos and threes ... they’re holding their own,” DHS head coach Dave Weisfeldt said of the middle of the lineup both at singles and doubles. “They’re warriors and fierce.”
At No. 2 singles, Ellen Southworth topped Vail Mountain 6-2, 6-3 before falling 6-0, 6-0 to Steamboat Springs. She beat Paonia 6-3, 6-1 and will play for third Friday. With a win and a win by Steamboat Springs, she’ll have a shot at playing her way into state.
Jaime Wanzek, playing in her usual No. 3 singles spot, has the same opportunity, although she’ll need a Glenwood Springs upset in the final to have a shot. Wanzek beat Roaring Fork 6-0, 6-2 before losing a marathon match to Glenwood Springs 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4) and beating Delta 6-3, 6-0 to stay alive.
“It was like watching a mirror image of Jamie,” Weisfeldt said of her opponent from Glenwood Springs.
Needing a Montezuma-Cortez victory over Steamboat Springs is the No. 1 doubles team of Sierra Lillard and Kari Bjorlin. The duo bested Montrose 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, coming back from a 2-5 deficit in the final set. The gas tank ran low against Cortez, however, and the Durango duo fell 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5.
Tyler Jameson and Melanie Hamilton still are alive at No. 4 doubles, needing a couple of wins and a win by Steamboat Springs to advance. They beat Montrose 6-1, 6-2 before losing to Steamboat 1-6, 6-4, 6-2. The pair beat Cedaredge in the consolation bracket 6-1, 6-0.
With every player still alive, Weisfeldt has high hopes for Friday's outcome.
“We hope to pull up the van into Pueblo next week,” he said.
The CHSAA Class 4A State Girls Tennis Championships will be played at Pueblo City Park on May 12-14.