Nobody was able to advance out of the first round of the Class 4A girls tennis state tournament for the Durango Demons. But being there Friday was a win for the program.
Durango High School sent one singles player and three doubles teams to the tournament in Pueblo. Because of the shortened season created by COVID-19 related rescheduling, the event was shortened to two days and changed to a single-elimination format. That meant a loss in first round ended a player’s tournament almost as soon as it started.
That was the case for all of the Demons’ players Friday.
“Unfortunately, there are no playbacks this year,” DHS head coach Darren Tarshis said. “Some of the scores in our matches do not accurately describe the competitiveness of those matches against some really strong players.”
Durango’s lone senior at state was No. 3 singles player Mia Boughton. She fought back after a 6-0 loss in the first set but would drop the second 6-2 to Cheyenne Mountain freshman Taylor Stadjuhar.
Stadjuhar went on to win 6-1, 6-1 in the Friday’s quarterfinal match with Thompson Valley’s Dasha Mulholland.
“For me, Mia has been working her way up from No. 4 doubles since her freshman year. For her to get to state as a singles player is a big victory,” Tarshis said. “She was up against a very seasoned young player.”
Boughton enjoyed her first career trip to state and then savored her role as a mentor for the younger Demons doubles players.
“I had a lot of games go to deuce, and my serving was good today, even if the score doesn’t show that,” Boughton said. “It was so special to get to play at state. That was my one goal this year. Last season, we didn’t get to have a season at all. To come back and make this happen this year, I am so glad I finally got to do it my senior year.”
At No. 2 doubles, Durango’s team of Adwyn Choen and Juliet Digiacomo fell 6-4, 6-1 to Kent Denver’s top-seeded Remi Peck and Meredith Water. Waters and Peck would fall in three sets in the quarterfinals to the Grand Junction duo of Emma Rose and Lizzie Ballard, as the Tigers team won 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.
“They did a wonderful job,” Tarshis said of his team. “They won the first game and had it 4-4 in the first set. The reality is that either of those girls from Kent Denver, if they lived in Durango, would be No. 1 singles for us. For our girls to go out and play the two of them at No. 2 doubles, it was just great having two freshmen be able to do that. For me, it was a huge victory to be competitive.”
Durango’s No. 3 doubles team of Lola Bradshaw and Adeliade Cady fell 6-0, 6-1 to Loveland’s Brianna Fava and Sierra Lammers, who went on to fall 7-5, 7-5 to Silver Creek’s Meredith Emerson and Meghna Ravi in the quarterfinals.
At No. 4 doubles, Durango’s Hazel Cleaves and Ellie McLean lost 6-2, 6-3 to Denver South’s Lina Murane and Laney Pearson. The Denver South duo fell in the quarterfinals.
“No. 3 doubles fought hard, and 4 doubles came back at the end of their match,” Tarshis said. “All in all, everyone had some gains. We knew with eight underclassmen in their first year of Durango High tennis that this was going to be a building year. In that sense, it’s mission accomplished.”