All three of Cheyenne Mountain’s singles entries at the 4A tournament emerged victorious Thursday. No. 1 singles player Kalyssa Hall, making her state debut, barely broke a sweat in a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Eaton’s Kortny Locky. Defending No. 2 single champion Payton Fielding also breezed into the quarterfinals without losing a game.
Hall was the lone No. 1 athlete from area schools to advance to the quarterfinals. Air Academy senior Jenna Milliman fell to Meagan Monaghan of Denver South, the 2011 state champ at No. 1 singles and runner-up last season, 6-1, 6-0. Ik Feangreung of Fountain Valley was defeated by Delaney Nalen of Kent Denver, 6-3, 6-2.
If that last name sounds familiar, it is. Nalen, a junior, is the daughter of Tom Nalen, a former five-time All-Pro center for the Denver Broncos.
Strength in numbers
Air Academy had 10 players reach the 4A state tournament, just one behind Cheyenne Mountain, Niwot and Steamboat Springs for the most entrants. Ashley Burnett advanced in No. 2 singles following a straight-set victory, while the No. 3 doubles team of Brooklyn Stern and Anne Zou also won in straight sets to move into Friday’s quarterfinals.
Air Academy hasn’t had an individual state champion since Tabitha Knop won the 5A title at No. 1 singles in 2005.
Vendor sticks around to sell programs
While players and coaches left Pueblo City Park to stay entertained during Thursday’s seven-hour rain delay, Corey Brown, a sales representative for Kukulski Brothers, didn’t venture far from his booth as he hoped for a break in the clouds.
“Last year, I remember it being really hot, but this year, it’s not,” said Brown, who lives in Phoenix and travels to four states with his company, the official producer and supplier of championship programs and souvenirs. “It’ll pick up. I just came from Oklahoma, and it was cold there. I knew better than to not remember my sweater for Colorado.”
By the time the first matches started just after 4 p.m., Brown was back in business, with a steady line waiting to snap up official event merchandise.