Tigers triumvirate treks to Pueblo | SummitDaily.com

Tigers triumvirate treks to Pueblo

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk

FARMER’S KORNER ” The Summit High School girls tennis team is living proof that there’s more than one way to get things done.

Sutton Anderson, Holly Westwood and Cissy Daniels will represent the Tigers at this weekend’s 4A state tournament in Pueblo. Although they traveled there together in one vehicle Wednesday afternoon, each player has taken a very different path to get to the pinnacle of Colorado high school tennis.

For Anderson, the Tigers’ No. 1 singles player and senior captain, a trip to the state tournament has been on the radar ever since her freshman year on the varsity team.

“I took third at regionals as both a freshman and sophomore,” she said. “It was pretty frustrating because only the top two places get to go to state.”

Anderson’s path to the state tournament led her to Weil Tennis Academy in Southern California, where she spent her junior year. She said she valued her experience at Weil, which allowed her to play against some of the world’s top junior players, but was ready to return home to Summit for her senior year.

Anderson’s homecoming has been sweet to say the least. After posting a dominant regular season record of 10-2, she took second place at last weekend’s regional tournament with wins over Bishop Machebeuf and Evergreen and a loss to Kent Denver.

Summit coach Rae Anderson has been looking forward to the next few days for a long time.

“This is big,” Anderson said. “I’m retiring this year and my daughter’s graduating. I think we always dreamed we’d go to state together.”

While Sutton Anderson was in California last year at this time, Holly Westwood was playing JV tennis and Cissy Daniels was playing varsity soccer.

Westwood played JV for two years before making the jump to varsity, where she landed at the No. 4 doubles spot with her close friend and fellow junior, Jodi Houghtaling. The tandem dominated their first varsity season together, tying Sutton Anderson’s team-leading 10-2 record, but seemed doomed recently when Houghtaling opted out of the regional tournament due to an academic conflict.

The potential unhappy ending brought Daniels suddenly into the picture.

Daniels decided to try out for the SHS tennis team to try something new in her senior year. Her athleticism landed her a spot on the squad even though it was her first year playing tennis ” she was named as a bubble player who would step in for Summit regulars when they were unable to play their matches.

The quick-learning senior made two varsity appearances leading up to the postseason ” a loss at No. 2 doubles to Colorado Academy and a win at No. 2 doubles against Evergreen.

Daniels, who has played volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball and now tennis during her four years at SHS, has decided that the latter is the most fun to play competitively.

“It combines everything,” she said. “The overhead (stroke) is like volleyball, the serve is like a softball throw and there’s a lot of shuffling and moving off the ball like there is in basketball. It’s a blast to play.”

Westwood claims to have at least one thing in common with her new partner, despite their divergent tennis histories.

“We’re both quite competitive,” Westwood said. “Even though we’re not the best people on the team, we’re willing to go for any ball and try to get it over (the net) at any cost.”

Daniels attributed her team’s success at regionals to both hustle and “keeping it light on the court,” she said. “We had fun out there and it kept us more relaxed.”

Anderson and Westwood/Daniels will each compete this weekend among 15 other teams at their respective positions, though specific pairings were unavailable as of press time.

The Tigers expect to see some familiar faces in Pueblo, regardless of who they play.

“I bet I’ll know at least half of the other No. 1 girls,” Sutton Anderson said. “Some from high school tennis but most of them from the Intermountain Region (of USTA Juniors).”

Anderson’s first match is set for today at 9 a.m. and Westwood/Daniels will play around noon. Tournament winners will be determined Saturday after three days of competition.

Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13631, or at aboffey@summitdaily.com.

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