For Emma Delich and Sydney Wagner, an entire year of reflection made all the difference.
Last year, they lost in a grueling battle for the No. 2 doubles title in the Class 4A state girls’ tennis tournament. It motivated them to work even harder once they got back on the court together. They worked on their shots, their bond, their friendship.
“Obviously, there was a lot of growth, a lot of hard work to get the place that we did,” Delich said.
It all paid off on the state’s biggest stage as they captured the No. 1 doubles title at this year’s state tournament. Their performance helped Cheyenne Mountain finish with its 10th title in 11 years.
Their performance also secured their place as The Gazette Preps 2019 Girls’ Tennis Doubles Peak Performers of the Year.
“They fed off each other a lot and leaned on each other a lot and it was reciprocated,” Indians coach Dave Adams said. “It was really fun watching those two come along.”
Their journey started with a loss. In 2018, they fell to Niwot in an hours long battle, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4, in the state’s No. 2 doubles final. That match stuck with them, and both were determined to bounce back.
They had their reasons as his would be Wagner’s senior year, and Delich — a sophomore — wanted to help send her off with a state title.
They did just that, of course.
Though they won every set at the state tournament, Delich and Wagner faced some challenges. They escaped the quarterfinals with a 7-6, 6-3 win over Windsor’s Natalie Talbot and Ryan Daigle. And in the finals, the Cheyenne Mountain got revenge of sorts.
Delich and Wagner topped Niwot’s duo, 6-4, 6-1, to help put aside the memory of losing to a different Cougars pair a year earlier. They finished their season with a 17-3 record, a state title and memories of playing together.
“It was one of those experiences I’ll never forget because it was the last time I’d play with Emma in a high school match like that,” Wagner said. “You get to compete for the state title. It was one of those things you get or not.”
“I think you learn more when you lose,” she said, “and I think I had that in my mind the whole year. I think that’s probably the reason why Sydney and I were able to come back.”