GILLETTE – Led by Ethan Creagar, who earned all-state for finishing fifth in No. 1 singles, all Torrington Trailblazers won at least one match at the state tennis tournament in Gillette over the weekend.
“There was a ton of quality tennis this year all over the state and our tennis team was competitive,” coach Lyle Wiley said. “I was really impressed with our effort even though we did not get any competitors into the championship rounds.”
As a team, the Torrington boys took 11th, racking up 8.5 team points. Laramie (45 points), Campbell County (33) and Jackson (31) rounded out the top-three teams.
Creagar had the best finish among all of the Blazers in Gillette, despite losing his opening match to Ben Radosevich (Natrona) in three sets, 1-6, 6-4 and 6-1. Creagar went on to handle business starting in the consolation bracket.
He bested Rawlins’ Ryan Pfeffer in two sets, 6-0 and 6-3, and continued his run with a win over Green River’s Gregory Marchal, 6-2 and 6-3. Creagar’s final win of the tournament came in two sets over Sheridan’s Quinton Suska (6-3, 6-2). In the game with a berth to the consolation finals, Creagar fell in two sets, 6-3 and 6-4, to Jackson’s Nate Fairbanks.
“To get the all-state distinction with this group of boys is quite an accomplishment, because there are tremendous tennis players at the top this year,” Wiley said. “He played smart tennis. His serve was wicked and it let him take chances with his shots while returning serves.”
Brian Fenn and Kelly Peterson also had a solid day at No. 1 doubles, posting a 2-2 record and reaching the consolation quarterfinals. They started the weekend with a win over Natrona’s pairing in two sets, snagging the first 6-1 and squeaking out the second, 7-5.
Powell bested the Torrington duo in the second round in three sets (6-4, 4-6, 6-3), forcing Peterson and Fenn to fall to the lower bracket. Cheyenne East’s pairing proved to be no match for the Blazers, with Peterson and Fenn winning 6-1 and 6-1. In the quarterfinals of the consolation bracket, Torrington fell to Thunder Basin, 6-3 and 6-2.
In the other singles bracket, Clay Peterson also picked up a first-round win, beating Cody’s Mark Bullerdick in two sets, 6-2 and 6-2. In the second round, Peterson pushed Rhett Pimentel (Powell) to the edge in the first set, winning the tiebreak 7-1, before losing the next two sets, 6-4 and 6-1. Quingfeng Li (Laramie) gave up the first set in the lower bracket to Peterson (6-4) but went on to win the next two (6-0, 6-1), eliminating Peterson from the bracket.
Rounding out the doubles action for the boys, both Levi Wickham and Mason Weis (No. 2 doubles) and Jaysen Stitt and Mason Brummell (No. 3 doubles) went 1-2. Weis and Wickham lost their first match in a close on against Thunder Basin, 7-5 and 6-2. The duo went on to win their first match of the lower bracket, beating Natrona in two sets, 6-1 and 6-2. Against Sheridan, Wickham and Weis lost the first set, 6-2, before rallying to win the second, 6-4. In the decisive third set, Torrington lost 6-4.
Stitt and Brummell had a similar run through the bracket, falling in their first match against Sheridan, with each match’s score finishing at 6-4. In the lower bracket, they were tested by Campbell County but won in two sets, including a tiebreak (7-6 (7-4), 6-2). The Torrington duo were dismissed from action by Powell in a close two sets, 6-3 and 7-6 (7-5).
“These two (Stitt and Brummell) showed up for state big time with three really strong matches,” Wiley said. “Even though they only got one win, they worked hard and were playing their best tennis.”
The Lady Blazers combined to amass 7.5 team points, edging out Jackson and Cheyenne East, who each had seven, for the eighth slot. Cheyenne Central took the girls team crown with 56 points, while Kelly Walsh took second with 48 points and Cody finishing third with 35 points.
Mia Saucedo and Shelby Luttrell had the best finish among the Lady Blazers, tying for fifth at No. 1 doubles. They won their first match over Jackson’s pairing in two sets, 6-1 and 6-3, before falling to Cheyenne Central in two (6-2, 6-1).
In the lower bracket, Luttrell and Saucedo went on a run, winning two matches in a row. They bested Powell’s pairing in a close two sets, 7-5 and 6-4. By the same set scores, the Torrington girls beat Rawlins to advance to the semi-finals of the consolation bracket. Luttrell and Saucedo pushed Cody’s duo to the brink, but fell in two sets (7-6 (7-3), 6-3).
“Shelby and Mia played their best tennis of the year at state. They had an opportunity to break into the consolation game too, but just fell short after a long day of tennis Friday,” Wiley said. “These seniors gave everything they had a should have their head high after a great season.”
Aubree Powell and Sera Glassed linked up for No. 2 doubles action, posting a 2-2 record in Gillette. After winning their first match in three sets over Powell’s doubles team (6-0, 2-6, 6-1), the Lady Blazers fell to Sheridan in two sets, 6-3 and 6-2. Once in the lower bracket, Powell and Glass eliminated Natrona with a two-set win, 6-0 and 6-3. Kelly Walsh’s duo bested Torrington’s duo in two sets, 6-4 and 6-4.
“Both of these girls are super talented and continue to work hard to improve,” Wiley said. “Next season, I think we will see both competing on the final days at state.”
Rounding out the doubles teams, Sydney West and Kalli Smith competed at No. 3 doubles. In their first match, they lost the first set 6-2 against Powell and forced a tiebreak in the second set, but eventually fell, 7-6 (10-8). After receiving a bye in the first round of the lower bracket, West and Smith fell to Thunder Basin’s doubles team in two sets, 6-4 and 6-4.
Emi Glass put her talents to the test in the No. 1 singles bracket. She lost her initial matchup against Alli Hays from Cambell County in two sets, 6-2 and 6-2. Glass went to the lower bracket, picking up a two-set win over Kiersten McDonal (Riverton) in two sets, 6-0 and 6-1. Hattie Pimentel (Powell) got the best of Glass, winning in two sets (6-1, 6-0).
“Her experience at the indoor courts this year, watching all this great tennis and competing with the best is going to pay off next year,” Wiley said. “She is focusing on improving and coming out strong next season.”
Rounding out the Torrington girls was Richelle Fitzsimmons (No. 2 singles). She won her first match over Thunder Basins Tori Toscana in two sets, 6-1 and 6-0, before losing in two sets to Ana Mae Shickish, 6-2 and 6-3. In the consolation bracket, Fitzsimmons was bested by Cheyenne East’s Lexie Woolridge in two sets, 6-4 and 6-3.