History Was Made By The Lady Plainsmen At State Tennis [VIDEO]
Four top four finishes allowed the Laramie Lady Plainsmen tennis team to win the school’s first ever girl’s state tennis championship in Gillette last weekend.
Laramie scored 45 points and beat runner-up Gillette by seven for the team crown.
Head coach Elizabeth Clower said that words couldn’t describe the feeling she had the moment she saw her team presented the first place trophy atop the podium.
“You saw the joy in their eyes. They knew they had accomplished something that I don’t think they thought at the beginning they could, but as the year went on, they realized, hey, we can do this. They worked very hard at practice. When you see kids work hard for a goal, and you see ‘em set a goal and reach that goal; there’s just nothing more rewarding; that’s the reason we coach.”
The Lady Plainsmen didn’t win a state crown at any of the positions, but their depth pulled them through for the team title. There were three runner-up performances.
Clower added that in the end they came together as a team.
“Everybody knew they had to go as far into the bracket as they possibly could… So it was a total team effort. Everybody doing the best they could do.”
Senior Lucia Cho rolled through her matches and dropped only seven games to reach the championship at number one singles. She met a familiar foe in Rachel Phillips of Cheyenne Central. Cho won the first set 6-3, but lost the second 2-6. She jumped out to a 4-0 love lead in the third, but faltered and lost 5-7 to Phillips.
Cho admitted she got really nervous.
“I was not playing my game; definitely in the second set, but I did have a lead in the third set, and I just couldn’t finish it.”
As tough as that was, Cho said to win the team crown, “I knew we had a good chance, but reaching our goal is so incredible.”
At number two singles, senior Lea Bergman won her first three matches and dropped only 9 games along the way. She faced off against Central’s Grace Dereemer and lost 6-2 and 6-2.
The third positon that reached a title match was the number one doubles duo of Morgan Bury and Ally Franc. After a straight sets victory in the first round, they survived a pair of three-setters just to get to the title match. Bury and Franc faced the team of Bridges and Holland from Gillette and lost 6-2, 6-2 and came in second.
We caught up with the tandem and asked them about the title match, team championship and playing together this season.
At number three doubles, Niky Pisitpong and Kyra Wulff lost in the semifinals to the eventual state champs. Then after a victory in the consolation semis, they fell to the Sheridan duo of Roth and Pierce, 6-4, 4-6 and 7-6, 8-6 in the third set tie-break, for fourth place.
Number two doubles, Olivia Dorrell and Tori Longress, lost in the second round after an opening round bye. They battled back and won two consolation matches before they fell in the consolation semis. It came down to a third-set tie-break that went 12-10 in favor of a team from Sheridan. They came in a share of fifth and sixth.
Clower also said they cliqued with one another.
“They were for one another. They got along well. They cheered for each other. It was important to do it for their teammate. When you’re out there, and you see a bigger picture than yourself, good things are gonna happen.”
The Plainsmen struggled at state and finished in 12th place with only eight points.
The top performances came from number one and number three doubles. Ky Fike and Miles Stump reached the semis, but lost to the eventual state champs from Gillette in straight sets. That was followed by a loss in the consolation semis, also in straight sets, to a team from Sheridan. Abijah Ahern and Noah Dreiling got to the semis, but lost to a team from Cody in straight sets. They took the same route as 1-doubles, as Ahern and Dreiling fell in the consolation semis, but in three sets.
The rest of Laramie’s line-up didn’t play more than three matches and was eliminated early in the bracket.
Gillette’s boy’s easily won the team title by 28 points over Sheridan.