Four first-place finishes at last week’s Class 4A Region 1 tournament helped the Discovery Canyon girls' tennis team take the regional team title, and the No. 1 doubles team of junior Hunter Jones and senior Layne Frost may have had the most improbable run of the group.
Jones, a Discovery Canyon student, and Frost, who’s nearing graduation at The Classical Academy, are in their first year playing together and entered the regional having lost to two duos in the six-team regional. One of those teams was a Pine Creek partnership that entered 10-1, including a three-set win over the Thunder in April.
“They played a really though match in-season, lost in three sets,” Discovery Canyon coach Brian Thirkell said. “It was one where we knew what we needed to work on to be able to beat that team and the other teams in the region.”
On Friday, Jones and Frost dropped the Eagles’ top doubles team in straight sets in the final to win the regional title and earn Gazette Preps Peak Performers of the Week.
“It was just really exciting and rewarding to win that match,” Frost said.
After taking the first set, the Thunder found themselves in a 4-1 hole in the second. They took a moment to get on the same page and do their best not to cede momentum.
“I think we just knew we needed to be aggressive,” Jones said. “We definitely talked to each other and were like, ‘We need to come in to the net and put away the balls and make sure we’re consistent.’”
The duo rallied to force a tie break, eventually knocking off the Eagles.
“We didn’t want to go to a third,” Frost admitted.
The team’s strength appears to be its balance and understanding of one another.
“I think she’s really good at serving and just keeping the ball in whenever she needs to,” Jones said.
That allows the junior to anticipate where a return might land. When Jones gets a read on a ball at the net, it’s usually good news for Discovery Canyon.
“She has a the most amazing volleys on the team,” Frost said. “It’s super easy to win points because I can just set her up, and then she’ll finish with a volley. It’s really exciting.”
If the duo is to have a prolonged run at the state tournament this week, they’ll need to duplicate their efforts against another team with a previous win over the Thunder.
Jones and Frost will face a Palmer Ridge squad in the first round Thursday at Pueblo City Park. While there’s been a change to the Bears' No. 1 doubles team that beat the Thunder in two sets in March, Jones and Frost again have their work cut out for them.
“We’re really excited for state, hopeful,” Frost said. “We’ve played Palmer Ridge before, so we’re just going to get as far as we can and play as well as we can.”
The Bears top doubles’ team will face the same pairing it saw earlier this season, but the Thunder seem to be peaking in the postseason.
“I really feel they were playing their best tennis in the tournament and really working together,” Thirkell said.
Other Peak Performers
Daevion Kinnard, Mesa Ridge
While the Grizzlies went 1-2 last week, the senior did his part with six hits and five RBIs on the week. He doubled, homered and drove in three runs against Widefield on Thursday and stole two bases and picked up the win on the mound against Denver North on Saturday. He’s hitting .569 with 12 extra-base hits in his senior season.
Madi Eurich, Coronado
Eurich tied for second at the Class 5A Colorado Springs Metro League tournament on Wednesday, turning in a five-over 41 in a shortened tournament. Eurich was three shots off the winner, teammate Kate Griffin, and helped the Cougars win the team title.
Liam Hybl, Cheyenne Mountain
The sophomore goalie had a pair of games with at least 11 saves last week. The first came in a loss to Dawson School, one of the top teams in the state, when he saved 15 of 25 shots on goal. On Saturday, he made 11 saves in a 13-10 win over Air Academy. In between, he saved eight of the nine shots he saw in a lopsided win over Lutheran.
Domi Semadeni, Palmer
The Terrors wrapped up a tough regular season with their second win of the season. Semadeni, a senior, scored three of the team’s 14 goals in a win over Denver South. She added a goal against Pine Creek and scored four times with an assist in Friday’s loss to Steamboat Springs, giving her 18 goals for the season.
Aliyah Moya, The Vanguard School
The speedy sophomore striker closed the regular season with a flurry of goals. In four games last week when the Coursers went 2-1-1, Moya scored nine of her 19 goals for the season. The highlight came in a five-goal game against Ellicott. She also scored two of the team’s three goals against Fountain Valley.
Immanuel Crutchfield, Liberty
Crutchfield came up big in the Lancers’ second duel win of the season. In Thursday’s win over Palmer, Crutchfield took first in the 200 freestyle in 2 minutes, 2.51 seconds and the 100 butterfly in 1:02.01. He also handled a leg of Liberty’s 200-medley relay , which won by more than seven seconds.
Jules Thompson, Colorado Springs School
The unbeaten freshman won the No. 1 singles bracket at Friday’s Class 3A Region 6 tournament. She was one of two Kodiaks to win their regional, a first for the school. CSS finished second behind The Vanguard School.
Boys’ track and field
Chiante’ Stewart, Ellicott
The Thunderhawk senior won four events at Saturday’s Black Forest League Championships at Elbert. Stewart swept the jumps, winning the long (20 feet, 7 inches), triple (42-10.5) and high jump (6-2). He also took the 200-meter dash is 23.4 seconds.
Girls’ track and field
Erika Willis, The Classical Academy
The senior pole vaulter beat the field by more than a foot at The Pueblo Twilight on Friday, clearing 11 feet, 10 inches. Second place went to TCA’s Kristina Willis, who vaulted 10-8.