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'Stangs roll in regionals

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Mullen qualifies all 11 for the 4A Colorado tournament; takes 6-of-7 regional championships.
Mullen girls tennis came within a match of sweeping its way to the Class 4A Colorado tournament.

As it was, the Mustangs qualified all 11 players at the seven singles and doubles spots on Tuesday in 4A Region 3 held at Harlow Park Courts and Mullen’s Vicky Matarazzo Courts.

They outdistanced Bear Creek, Dakota Ridge, Denver North, Evergreen, Green Mountain, Golden and Wheat Ridge in the team chase.

“They’re all playing great,” Mustangs head coach Jera Sturgell said of her 11. “I felt like we had the opportunity to do this, but you have to play the matches. They played well, worked hard and they should be here. Think about how much we had to deal with ...”

The new Season D is late, there are fewer matches, it will dip deeper into the summer between school years and there are no playbacks in the postseason in this odd whirlwind of a seven-week competition at the end of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it wasn’t what affected Mustangs No. 1 singles player Lauren Manwiller, who is headed to her third state tournament at the game’s top spot. She won on Tuesday by 6-0, 6-0, and is playing freely.

“I’ve just been playing better since I committed to college,” Maniwller said since signing with Loyola-Maryland. “It was a relief. Tennis is hard to get a scholarship, there are only, like, six spots. After that I just felt like I can play my game. There’s no pressure and I can do my best.”

It must have worked – Manwiller’s only loss in 2021 was to the 2019 5A champion.

Also at singles, No. 2 Alexia Yost and No. 3 Marin Smith were regional champions. So were Mullen’s doubles teams Nos. 1-3: -- Brooklyn Hanley-Parker Durand; Izzy Desjardins-Tierney Scanlan; and Aubryanne Leugers-Madeline Crites.  Clara Dailey-Renee Hoyt were regional runners-up and still qualified.

With the Colorado tournament scheduled for June 11-12 in Pueblo, Sturgell said the Mustangs will take the time to practice and prepare. With no season in 2020, it’s difficult to project what to expect, she said, but feels good about her team’s chances.

“We’ll be ready,” she said.