Wind plays role in Rampart's girls' tennis win over Lewis-Palmer

0
Photo - Rampart senior Jamie Smith returns the ball in her #1 singles match. The Rampart Rams hosted the Lewis-Palmer Rangers in girls' tennis on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at Rampart High School. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing
Rampart senior Jamie Smith returns the ball in her #1 singles match. The Rampart Rams hosted the Lewis-Palmer Rangers in girls' tennis on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at Rampart High School. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing

Rampart senior Jamie Smith builds high-tech robots as part of another high school team when she's not on the tennis court.

She helps wire and construct machines intended to compete with similar designs from opposing teams across the state. And on Thursday, after she put the finishing touches on her 6-2, 6-4 win over Lewis-Palmer's Emma Gaydos in the No. 1 singles match, she promptly headed to Denver for a robotics competition.

"I have a lot of senior things going on," cracked Smith, whose tennis team beat the Rangers 5-2. "It's about managing (it)."

Smith's time is split between school, clubs, senior events, prep for the International Baccalaureate test in May, and of course, tennis.

On the court, she'll aim to qualify for the state tournament for the first time in her career for the Rams, who moved down to 4A this season. A victory over Gaydos, a 4A quarterfinalist a year ago, could be a nice spark.

"I am always going to be driving for it," Smith said. "Having the possibility of going to state is a huge accomplishment for a player. Having the goal in mind, it definitely helps get me through the season."

The early spring event was rocked by heavy bursts of wind, which forced a number of altered shots and plenty of frustration.

Smith managed it best, expertly placing winners and limiting her mistakes against a fiery Gaydos.

The senior's level-headed approach and cool demeanor is never a surprise, Rampart coach Molly Gill said.

"Jamie is always calm and collected," Gill said. "She balances everything in her life. ... She's awesome."

Gaydos, who has already faced 2016 4A semifinalist Morgan Hall of Cheyenne Mountain and reigning 4A No. 2 singles champion Mattie Kuntzelman of Discovery Canyon, fell to 1-3 on the year.

The junior remained confident afterward, saying that she believes her play will only improve as the season draws on.

"Having a few tough matches early on gets me in the mode to compete and to play harder," said Gaydos, who also noted that she is still rounding into form after a recent bout of mononucleosis.

"All the credit to Jamie, though. She played an amazing match and deserved to win. She adjusted to the wind beautifully, she hit wonderful shots . she played an amazing match."

The Rams swept doubles play as three of the four matches went to a third-set tiebreaker. The Rangers' two victories were from No. 2 singles player Joee Crocker and No. 3 Austynn Crocker, homeschooled sisters who recently moved from Virginia.