Chemistry is key for state-qualified Tigers |

Chemistry is key for state-qualified Tigers

summit daily news
Special to the Daily/David Gidley

FARMER’S KORNER ” The Summit High School tennis team’s season would be over by now if it didn’t have such sound chemistry among its doubles positions.

Three Tigers doubles teams will compete in the 4A state tournament beginning today in Pueblo. Summit’s six remaining postseason representatives ” Megan Hartman and Tiana Shelton (No. 2 doubles), Jodi Houghtaling and Holly Westwood (No. 3 doubles) and Marie and Julie Oberriter (No. 4 doubles) ” all of whom finished second at last week’s regional tournament, seem to have one important thing in common: A strong familiarity and cohesion with their partner.

“Tennis is more than just technical, good shots,” SHS coach Kate Walker said. “There’s a lot of give and take, a lot of communication, supporting each other and getting each other pumped up. These three teams have really displayed that.”

Here’s a quick look at each doubles tandem, their current records and how they’ve become compatible enough to advance to the coveted state tournament.

Shelton and Hartman are two SHS juniors, who are friends both on and off the court. According to Shelton, however, they were not always two peas in a pod.

“When we were first assigned to be partners, we had a history of being complete enemies,” Shelton said during Wednesday’s practice. “It just wasn’t a good vibe between us and (former coach Rae Anderson) thought that we would work really well together. We were very wary of that situation when it first happened, but as the season went on we kind of grew together. This year we just totally hit it straight on.”

Shelton, who played in last week’s regional tournament with bandaged hands resulting from a wipeout in the SHS parking lot, is clearly looking forward to her first state tournament.

“It will be a different level of competition, which will be interesting, but kind of nerve racking at the same time,” said Shelton, who, like Hartman, was a varsity bubble player as a freshman. “We’re just super excited.”

Like their teammates at No. 2 doubles, Houghtaling and Westwood were partners last season. Westwood, who advanced to the ’06 state tournament with a replacement player when Houghtaling was unable to compete, is the only current Tiger with experience at state.

According to Houghtaling, the pair of seniors will bring a take-it-as-it-comes approach into Pueblo.

“We don’t really have a game plan,” Houghtaling said. “We like to see what the other team does first before we start talking about what we should do, but we have to play aggressively.”

To say that Marie and Julie Oberriter know each other well would be an understatement, considering they’re sisters.

Marie is a junior, playing her third year on varsity. Julie is a freshman, who recently got back into competitive tennis after several years away from it.

The elder Oberriter spoke to the sibling dynamic that exists between them.

“There were some tough times, like fighting with each other,” she said. “But in the end, we ended up working out really well together.”

Marie Oberriter, who was dressed in street clothes during Wednesday’s practice after tweaking her right ankle in an early morning rugby practice, said she planned to play through the pain.

The Oberriters’ opening match is against another sister tandem from Steamboat.

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