The Durango High School girls tennis team needed some help on Friday at the Class 4A state championships in Pueblo. All five of Durango’s positions that qualified for state were still alive after the first two rounds on Thursday, but they needed the players who defeated them to win their semifinal contests to reach the finals and pull the Demons into the playbacks.
“I had a little anxiety watching the other teams play, but it was out of our hands so we just had to wait,” said Rachel Ager, who plays No. 4 doubles with Avery Edgar.
“It was a little stressful, but we were confident they would win because they were a strong team,” said Adwyn Chowen. Chowen plays No. 1 doubles with Juliet DiGiacomo.
The No. 1 and No. 4 doubles teams that Durango lost to did win their semifinal matches, but the rest of DHS’ team was eliminated when their previous opponents fell in the semis.
Chowen and DiGiacomo started the tournament with a 7-5, 6-4 win against Pueblo West. “It felt really nice,” Chowen said. “Last year (at state) we lost our first one so we both really excited.”
In the quarterfinals they faced the same team from Kent Denver that beat them last year, Meredith Waters and Kendall Adams. “Personally I think we could have played better,” Chowen said. “We played well, they just had really powerful shots.”
Kent beat DHS 6-1, 6-3, but won its semifinal over Mullen 6-0, 6-1, to pull the Demons back in the tournament to face Longmont’s Allison Brause and Stella Rulon.
“They were really fun to play against,” Chowen said. “All of the points lasted a long time and almost all went to deuce. It was one of my favorite matches.”
Longmont won the first set 6-3 and jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second set before the Demons rallied. Chowen and DiGiacomo cut Longmont’s lead to 5-3 and had game point, but Longmont was able to prevail, 6-3.
“It was exciting from the first to the last point,” said DHS head coach Darren Tarshis.
“We didn’t let the points affect us, we just played our best,” Chowen said.
Ager and Edgar, meanwhile, began their first state tournament with a 6-1, 6-2 win against Mesa Vista.
“The people we played against were hard hitters, but we were able to get points going,” Ager said. They lost to a Mullen duo, 6-0, 6-2, in the quarters, but got pulled into the playbacks to play Discovery Canyon’s Hannah Ronstrom and Lauren Campbell.
Ager and Edgar won first set, 6-3. “They just came out and were playing relaxed tennis,” Tarshis said.
Discovery won the second set, 6-4. The third set was tied 4-4, but Discovery Canyon was able to take it, 6-4.
“We had two good matches today,” Tarshis said. “They sure made it close.”
The rest of the Demons, meanwhile, were forced to be spectators on Day 2, though some found an open court to play on.
Sophia Gallagher ended up finishing 1-1 at No. 1 singles for DHS. Elle McLean and Lola Bradshaw went 1-1 at No. 2 doubles. And Ellie Davenport went 0-1 at No. 2 singles.
“Overall, I think the season was successful,” Ager said. “I think the team was strong and next year I think we’ll be strong too.”
“We’ve all gotten really close to each other and we all support each other,” Chowen said. “That makes the trips fun.”
“Nobody is a senior so everybody is coming back,” Tarshis said. “This was a great tournament for building experience.”