Vail Christian girls claim multiple titles at 3A state tennis tournament
Webster and Mitchell, Iverson and Elalayli earn respective No. 2 and No. 4 doubles state titles
The Vail Christian girls tennis team had a spring to remember, right up through the 2023 season’s final match.
With all seven lines competing at last weekend’s 3A state tournament at Memorial Park in Colorado Springs — more than any other team — the Saints claimed two state titles, two runner-up finishes as well as third and a fifth-place finish. Play was pushed back a day by thunderstorms, tornado warnings and heavy wind on Thursday.
“I am so proud of our girls,” said head coach J.D. Webster. “The weather was crazy; we’ve battled all season for this moment through the snow, the wind, the rain and the heat. These girls rose up and didn’t flinch. They were brave and resilient.”
The freshmen No. 4 doubles pairing of Heidi Iverson and Sofia Elalayli defeated Holy Family’s Katelyn Morris and Alesandra Wise on Saturday by a score of 7-5, 6-1, just a few days after taking down Morris and Wise in the 3A team state tournament dual on Tuesday.
“The hard work paid off. It was nice to see our hitting play out in the match,” Elalayli said. Elalayli and Iverson finished their 2023 campaign with a 13-0 record.
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The No. 2 doubles squad of Aria Webster and Kamryn Mitchell defeated Salida’s Kate Young and Krystina Delao 6-0, 6-2 in the first round and Eaton’s Tayla Wiedeman and Kallie Salberg 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, they rematched Holy Family’s Avery Alderman and Lauren Stonehocker, who got the best of the Saints’ duo in the team state dual on May 9. Mitchell and Webster avenged what was their only loss on the season with a 7-6, 1-6, 7-6 victory, advancing to the state title match, where they outworked D’Evelyn’s Sabrea Schulte and Sky Young 6-2, 6-3.
“What a surreal experience!” stated Mitchell afterwards. “It was such an emotional day and I am so proud of my team. I want to thank J.D. and Kirsten, my team and my family for all of the love and support over this past season.”
Vail Christian’s No. 1 doubles squad of Juliet Studness and Anna Baker finished their season placing third and the No. 3 team of Sofie Brunner and Jenna Elalayi took the runner-up spot. Jessie Allen was the highest placing singles, taking second in the No. 3 slot. No. 2 singles Summer Sveum fell to Ella Becker 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round.
No. 1 singles and team captain Annika Iverson fell to eventual state champion Anna Jordaan of Colorado Academy in the first round, but defeated her Western Slope rival Lucia del Haya of Steamboat Springs 6-3, 6-4 in the first playback en route to a fifth-place finish. It was a perfect picture of the team’s resilience and improvement throughout an already remarkable season, which included a team state semifinal run and a dominant performance at the individual 3A region 8 tournament.
“Every single one of these girls is so special,” assistant coach Kirsten Webster stated. “To watch them grow not only as tennis players but as women is incredible.”
“From 6 a.m. practices to traveling two-plus hours after school to get to matches across the state, they’ve really put in a tremendous effort and it’s terrific to see it all pay off at states,” added varsity coach Erica Studness.
Vail Christian finished the regular season with an 89-16 record, going 11-1 in team duals.
“Our girls’ success was extraordinary. Ten players from one team reaching the final day of state championships is rare— no other team exceeded that feat this year,” Eric Meyer, head pro at Homestead Court Club said.
“The girls’ commitment and dedication to hard work, having fun, and supporting each other resulted in an experience and achievement that they can be proud of for the rest of their lives.”