Tiger tennis team focused on regionals, even with cut looming
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
The Summit High girls’ tennis team has always faced opponents with a bit of a chip on its collective shoulder. After all, when the Tigers travel down to the Front Range to take on their Jeffco League foes, they don’t often get the respect of the teams that train and compete year-round in Denver.
This spring, the weight of that chip got a whole lot heavier when it was decided that this would be the last season the girls’ tennis team would have at Summit High. The program was cut for budgetary reasons.
“I think the girls just want to prove a point,” head coach Sean Carlton said. “After having such a great season, the girls are pretty upset. Making it to state is a nice way to prove to everyone that they made a mistake, that our team shouldn’t have been cut.”
And Carlton – as well as his players – feels the Tigers have a great chance of advancing through today’s regional tournament in Grand Junction.
Summit finished the regular season with three straight wins last week, giving the Tigers a 6-5 record for the spring. Along the way, all four of Summit’s doubles teams finished with a winning record, as did No. 2 singles player Jessica Covaciu.
Carlton thinks the experience of the regular season – in which the Tigers played a number of top teams from around Denver – will benefit his team in a region set up with only mountain schools.
“Every girl has a huge chance to make it to state,” the coach said. “It’s really going to prove what the girls are made of. They could play three or four matches in one day.”
Senior Julie Oberriter, Summit’s No. 1 singles player, isn’t quite sure what to expect from the teams the Tigers will face in the regional, but feels her team is up for the challenge.
“Everyone wants to be able to qualify for state and just see how that goes,” she said.
And for Oberriter, whose older sister was on the first-ever Tiger tennis team years ago, wants to help the program go out in style.
“It’s a sport that ties a lot of girls to the school that don’t play other sports,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun for a lot of people and it’s sad to see it go. It’d be nice to keep it going just a little longer.”
Carlton said that he’s seen a response from people in the community that would indicate the team could continue in the future without the use of any school funds. However, for the team to be a part of the athletic department, either the boys’ swimming and diving team – which was also cut – would have to be saved as well or another boys’ program would need to be added to adhere to Title VIII restrictions.
The Tigers have three players who would be seniors on next year’s team.
Junior Katy Andrews can’t help but be upset at losing the chance to represent the Tigers as a senior next season.
“I’m super upset about that,” she said. “I was looking forward to being a senior, and being a bubble player right now, I was looking forward to moving up and having a chance to play.”
Although that chance is now gone, the Tigers have a chance today to continue their program just a little longer. And making it to state, Carlton said, would be a great way to go out.
“I told the girls that we can yell and scream and holler all we want, but it won’t help,” he said. “We have the chance to prove everyone wrong at regionals. Let’s end the season with a bang.”
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