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Mullen drops a close one, 4-3 to Chatfield tennis

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

In taking two of the three singles matches, but dropping three of four in doubles, Mullen lost a tight dual match in girls tennis to host Chatfield on Wednesday.

The Chargers of Jefferson County won 4-3.

For the Mustangs, freshman Lauren Manwiller won a lengthy match at No. 1 singles. She downed another freshman, Mikaela Mueller, 6-4, 6-7 (7-9), 6-2.

And Mustangs senior Shannon Stone methodically handled Chatfield’s Kira Coffee in straight sets, 6-2, 6-2.

In doubles, Mustangs sophomores Megan Sandy and Rebecca Watts got past Claire Hursta and Megan Furuto 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) at No. 4.

Mullen went down in straight sets at No. 2 singles and in two of its top three doubles spots.

Next up for Mullen is dual against another Jeffco team, Ralston Valley, in Arvada on Tuesday, March 20, 3:30 p.m.


Mustangs sweep Coronado to open season

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

In sweeping Colorado Springs’ Coronado 7-0 on Tuesday, Mullen opened the girls tennis season cleanly.

The Mustangs also won six of the seven singles and doubles matches in straight sets.

And they did it with plenty of underclassmen – only six of Mullen’s top 11 competitors are seniors.

Freshman Lauren Manwiller opened by winning in straight sets, 6-1, 6-0, and senior No. 3 singles Shannon Stone did likewise in 6-3, 6-2. No. 2 singles Mikayla Phelps, a junior, dropped her first set to Coronado’s Bethany Heitland, then won two in a row.

In doubles, Jessie Cleary-Izzy Watts (No.1), Maia Morrissey-Julia Dellasalle (No. 2), Jordan Cleary-Tatum Maloney (No. 3) and Megan Sandy-Rebecca Watts (No. 4) each needed only two sets.

The Mustangs next will be at Chatfield on Wednesday, March 14.

Spring Preview: Mustangs girls have the tennis numbers

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sportrs Information Specialist

Numbers? Mullen girls tennis has numbers, lots of them, more than 100 hopefuls in preseason.

“We have so many kids,” Mustangs head coach Jera Sturgell said.

As one of the few programs that have these kinds of numbers, Mullen is attempting to use a tennis ladder, Sturgell said, a computer-based system that sorts out team placings, “but so many of the players are new and they won’t be able to play matches.”

Only 11 spots for singles and doubles are available, but Sturgell pays it no mind.

“It’s a life sport, so they can play forever,” the coach said.

A year ago, Mullen sent its starting lineup to the Class 4A state meet in Pueblo after finishing second to Valor Christian in regionals. The Mustangs took seventh and Sturgill looks forward to an even higher finish.

Returning from 2017 are Tatum Maloney and Jordan Cleary, who finished fourth at No. 3 doubles. In addition, all three singles players from last year were juniors and add freshman Lauren Manwiller, already a tournament player, to the mix. In all, six players with experience return.

As usual, Mullen will split time between its home court and nearby Pinehurst Country Cub to accommodate the high number of players.

Certainly, Sturgill said, it will be a challenge for her and her staff to manage the roster, but she offers no complaints. It’s a good problem to have.

“Most schools only have about 40 players, so it makes it a challenge to get matches for our kids,” she said. “And our beginner girls need to learn how to play. I think we’ll have even a better showing than last year and it’s exciting to see.”

The Mustangs will open on March 13 with a home match against Coronado.



Mullen sends 2 doubles teams to 4A semis

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist


After sending all 11 players at the singles and doubles spots to Thursday’s first round of the Class 4A girls tennis state tournament, Mullen will have two sets of doubles teams playing for third place on Saturday.

Duos of Tatum Maloney-Jordan Cleary and Andrea Zaragoza-Angelica Garcia will have opportunities to increase their Mustangs total of 13 points. Heading into the final day, Mullen stood seventh of 28 teams. Cheyenne Mountain had locked up its ninth consecutive team title with 73 points, easily outdistancing second-place Kent Denver (41). Next were Valor Christian (39), Palmer Ridge (31), Durango (24) and Niwot (22).

Maloney-Cleary advanced to the No. 3 doubles semifinals, but ran into Palmer Ridge’s Cailin Foster-Regina Park, who went on to the final match with a 6-3, 6-2 victory. Maloney-Cleary will meet Air Academy’s Mackie Tate Tygart-Grace Ensor in the consolation match.  At No. 4 doubles, Zaragoza-Garcia went down in the quarterfinals, but won 6-2, 6-3 over Durango’s Camille Jacobs-Emma Vogel. The Mustangs will take on Valor Christian’s Avery Warburton-Mary Hertel in the third-place match.

Jessica Cleary was Mullen’s longest survivor at singles. Playing at No. 2, Cleary went down 6-0, 6-0 to Kent Denver’s Amanda Schlatter in the quarterfinals, but responded in playbacks by handling Cailey Sweckard of Pueblo South 6-2, 6-3.  However, Cleary then fell by 6-2, 6-1 to Valor Christian’s Darby Warburton.  At No. 1 doubles, the Mustangs’ Maia Morrissey-Mikayla Phelps advanced to the semifinals before falling 6-2, 6-1 to Valor Christian’s Tiffany Parobek-Lucie Hosse. They turned around and lost to Niwot’s Jewel NG-Tehnley White 6-1, 7-5.

All Saturday matches will begin at 9 a.m.




After a long first day of Class 4A state girls tennis at Pueblo City Park, Mullen sits tied for sixth place. 

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist


After a long first day of Class 4A state girls tennis at Pueblo City Park, Mullen sits tied for sixth place.

The Mustangs are tied with Niwot at 8 points. No surprise that eight-time defending state champion Cheyenne Mountain heads the field with 21 points, followed by Valor Christian 15, Kent Denver 14, Palmer Ridge 12 and Durango 9. Plus, this is the first season of a 3A classification, so the field is different.

All told, the Mustangs, who advanced all 11 players at the three singles and four doubles spots, won four first-round matches, then two in the quarterfinals. They won at one of the singles spots and three of the doubles, historically where most team state titles are won.

Junior Jessica Cleary won her first-round match at No. 2 singles via comeback, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 over Angel Wang of Pine Creek. Cleary then lost 6-0, 6-0 to Amanda Schlatter, a sophomore at Kent Denver, in the quarterfinals.


In doubles, Maia Morrissey-Mikayla Phelps earned a first-round victory at the No. 1 spot by 6-3, 6-4 over Pueblo South’s Ashley Feliz-Andrea Hough.

At No. 3, Tatum Maloney-Jordan Cleary fell 2-6 in the first game, then rallied by Breanna Bravo-Alyssa Soto of Pueblo South 6-2, 6-1. Maloney-Cleary then handled Ruby DeCora-Emma Jaber of Durango 6-3,6-4 to advance to the semifinals. And at No. 4, Andrea Zaragoza-Angelica Garcia swept Pine Creek’s Sherry Hu-Lindsay Mase 6-4, 6-3.


Of the Mustangs who were unable to advance past the first round, junior Elizabeth Watts earned the toughest draw of the tournament – a first-round match against the defending state champion, Josie Schaffer of Kent Denver, just a sophomore. Watts was swept in straight sets, 6-0, 6-0.

Shannon Stone, another junior and competing at No. 3 singles, won the first game 6-2 over Durango sophomore Emma Hackett, then went down in a couple of tight ones, 6-7, 5-7. And at No. 2 doubles, Mullen’s Dominique Fresquez-Julia Dellasalle split the first two games with Niwot’s Amanda Duquette-Erin O’Neill 2-6, 6-1, then fell 4-6.  Play will resume Friday at 9 a.m. with semifinals and assorted playbacks. Saturday’s title matches and those for third place also will begin at 9 a.m.



Team scores – Cheyenne Mountain 21, Valor Christian 15, Kent Denver 14, Palmer Ridge 12, Durango 9, Mullen 8, Niwot 8, Pueblo West 4, Discovery Canyon 4, Pine Creek 3, Rampart 3, Loveland 2, Thompson Valley 2.



By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist


Color the Mullen girls tennis team headed to the Class 4A state tournament at Pueblo City Park as interesting.

It’s a group that was 6-6 in dual meets during this spring season, yet advanced players at all singles and doubles spots through regionals. The coach remained supremely confident about her team, yet its members seem to be pleasantly surprised at current success. And what lies ahead will start to be determined on Thursday, when opening matches will commence.


It has been delightful for first-year coach Jera Sturgell.  “I felt like from the beginning that they were that good,” she said of her players. “And this was not common (to advance all players) … coming into the season I had high hopes.”

Mustangs No. 1 singles player Izzy Watts said “it was really hard, but I’m excited. I didn’t think I was going to make it.”  Watts advanced to state two years ago as a freshman, when she played No. 2 doubles, but missed the state field a year ago in her first season playing the top singles spot. And her reward for improving at the toughest spot on the board? A first-round match with the defending state champion, Josie Schaffer, a winner in 2016 as a freshman.

Who said it was going to be easy? “I’m excited,” Watts said.


Mustangs No. 2 singles Jessie Cleary also enters the final field with previous experience and said “I was surprised everybody made it and I think it will be fun. Everyone has worked really hard.”  As is the case in most of their sports, the Mustangs competed in the Centennial League that includes perennial 5A power Cherry Creek, so dealing with high-end competition was a regularity. Plus, Mullen players realized it.

“We didn’t have a super strong regional group, but the people we played during the season were really, really good,” Cleary said.

As for the 4A state-tournament group, it includes eight-time defending state champion Cheyenne Mountain as well as Kent Denver. Hence, there will be plenty of competition.  “We’ve seen some players we’ll see at state,” Cleary said. “I have some experience and I think it will help.”

Sturgell said the Mustangs’ hunger is considerable, as “they saw the draws and asked, ‘Are they good?’ They’re all good. It’s so hard to tell (how the Mustangs can fare) because we don’t play 4A schools. But I think we’re right in there, I really do.”


The tournament will run from Thursday through Saturday. The first two rounds will be Thursday, semifinals on Friday and championships and third-place matches on Saturday, the first two days spiced by playbacks. Weather permitting, each day will begin at 9 a.m.

Mullen, which began the season with 83 players, also will be represented in Pueblo by Shannon Stone at No. 3 singles, and doubles players Maia Morrissey-Mikayla-Phelps (No. 1), Dominique Fresquez-Julia DellaSalle (No. 2), Tatum Maloney-Jordan Cleary (No. 3) and Andrea Zaragoza-Angelica Garcia (No. 4).



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