Who knows if anything can stop Durango junior tennis player Alexis Garrett. An exhausting all-night study session couldn’t do it, nor could a left shoulder so injured that she couldn’t swing overhead.
Garrett lost the first set to Bishop Gorman senior Anita Lee on Friday, but rallied using an underhand serve and a ton of determination to win the Sunset Region girls singles championship, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, at Darling Tennis Center.
And it was a double-bonus day for Garrett: She aced the physics test she crammed for overnight.
“Today’s pretty successful,” she said with a laugh.
Garrett, the No. 2 seed from the Southwest League, used tough left-handed groundstrokes to fend off the top-seeded Lee. Mixing her shots was part of the plan for Garrett, who injured her shoulder during a Labor Day tournament and hopes to be able to serve and hit overhand in time for next week’s state tournament, also at the Darling Center.
“I just had to stay in the point,” Garrett said. “Anita’s too good of a player (for me) to not do anything with the ball.”
Both players qualified for state, as did all participants in Friday’s championship matches. Consolation winners from today will face a Tuesday play-in match against winners from their opposite southern region for the final state berth.
As dominant as ever, defending state champion Rebecca Breland, a junior from Canyon Springs, breezed to the Sunrise singles championship with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Liberty’s Sarah Lucas.
The sweep completed a spotless tournament for Breland. She won all five of her matches, 6-0, 6-0.
In doubles, Silverado senior sisters Kristen and Nicole Santero won their fourth straight Sunrise title with a grueling three-set victory over Liberty’s Danae Ingwaldson and Aphrah Brokaw, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.
The Liberty pair played well, with Ingwaldson hitting effectively from the baseline and Brokaw at the net. But the experienced Santeros overcame early nerves to give themselves one last shot at the state title that has barely eluded them in previous years.
“We were so nervous,” Nicole Santero said. “It was the most nerve-wracking game of our lives. In the second set, we had to step it up a little bit.”
Getting over the hump at state is the sisters’ final goal as high school players.
“We need to be even more focused than we were tonight,” Nicole Santero said.
In an all-Durango final in Sunset doubles, sisters Claire and Andrea Melo defeated Katy Moore and Jamie Dean, 6-1, 6-3, to give the Trailblazers a sweep of the singles and doubles titles.