PUEBLO — Lewis-Palmer girls' tennis player Austynn Crocker came into this year's Class 4A state tournament hoping to do better than last time.
She exceeded her expectations.
She ended her sophomore season in the No. 2 singles title match, only to lose a hard-fought battle against Cheyenne Mountain senior Corey Patton Lossner at Pueblo City Park. It took about 3 1/2 hours and three sets for Lossner to pull off a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 win for her second consecutive state title Saturday.
Crocker still had some doubts about herself after losing the first set.
"I was preparing myself to lose," she said, "because I didn't want to be upset but my coach helped me and told me stuff I needed to do to come back."
Last year, Crocker didn't make it very far in the No. 3 singles bracket. She was just hoping to get into the semifinals this time. And she did more than just that, topping Niwot's Taylor Thulson 6-3, 6-0 to advance to the No. 2 singles title match.
Crocker's state tournament run helped the Rangers to a fifth-place team showing with 23 points. Niwot won the state championship with 86 points and dethroned Cheyenne Mountain, which had won the previous nine titles.
Lewis-Palmer's Emma Gaydos settled for a third-place finish at No. 3 singles after beating Longmont's Taylor Merz 6-4, 6-1. The senior advanced to the semifinals and lost 6-2, 7-5 to eventual champion Julia Pentz of Niwot.
Pentz topped Cheyenne Mountain's Ariana Arenson 6-0, 6-2 to claim the title.
Palmer Ridge's Paiton Riggle and Tessa Rothwell placed third at No. 2 doubles after beating Valor Christian's Sam Chavez and Marguerite Keegan 6-0, 6-4. Arguably, the Palmer Ridge duo's toughest match came in the semifinals, when they fell to eventual state runner-up Emma Delich/Sydney Wagner of Cheyenne Mountain.
At No. 3 doubles, Air Academy's Samantha Cordasco and Kate Danis finished fourth. And Palmer Ridge's Kate Douglas and Tess Kelly placed fourth at No. 4 doubles.