PUEBLO – There were tears of joy for Cheyenne Mountain's Cory Patton Lossner and that was before she knew she had clinched the high school's 4A record ninth straight team championship.
Lossner battled back to defeat Niwot's Julia Pentz 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4 in a three-hour girls' tennis match. She was elated when she and her teammates found out the No. 2 singles semifinal victory had clinched the team title.
"It was all so overwhelming," she said. "It was such a tough match and then to hear we'd won the team title because of the win just made me cry even more."
It also left her and the other six state girls' tennis championship finalists swelling with pride after meeting their own high expectations.
Cheyenne Mountain enters the final day at Pueblo City Park with 73 points, well ahead of runner-up Kent Denver (41) and leaving the Sun Devils too far behind when the 9 a.m. Saturday title and third-place matches begin.
Fourth-place Palmer Ridge (31 points) could overtake third-place Valor Christian (39), but the Bears would need to win all three doubles finals (worth a combined nine points) against Cheyenne Mountain and have VC go winless Saturday.
Six of seven Cheyenne Mountain entrants advanced to the title match: Lossner, Cassie Dibble (No. 3 singles); Casey Ahrendsen and Ally Arenson (No. 1 doubles); Taylor Heinicke and Arianna Arenson (No. 2 doubles); Jensen Enteman and Katie Nelson (No. 3 doubles); and Brooke Dashiell and Tiana Stepleton (No. 4 doubles).
No. 1 singles player Morgan Hall lost in the semifinals to defending champion Josie Schaffer of Kent Denver and will play for third.
"We knew coming in that we would have three tough singles matches, but our depth in doubles has always been an advantage," Indians coach Dave Adams said.
The mark of nine titles, which surpassed the 4A and school record of eight, was an expectation when the spring season began.
"Our expectations have always been for them to improve in one small way everyday," Adams said. "They know (about the streak) and they want to build upon what previous teams have done."
Players come in knowing what is expected of them on and off the court.
"Our expectations definitely play a role," said Dibble, who advanced to the state finals for the first time after losing in the semis last spring. "It's a motivation everyday in practice to keep working toward getting better."
That was something younger players like Dashiell and Stepleton noticed right away after moving up to varsity, as did Lossner, who transferred in from Hawaii last summer.
"It's all for the team," Stepleton said. "We know coming into state that the coaches want us to do as well as we can individually, knowing it would help us win another team title."