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LittletonSPORTS 20-Sports

20 The Independent May 29, 2014

Player of the year: ‘Tate the Great’ Arapahoe sophomore may forego junior season to focus on national game By Jim Benton

jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com Arapahoe’s team lined up for a picture after the girls state tennis tournament at the Gates Tennis and held up a sign that proclaimed ‘Tate the Great.’ Tate is Tate Schroeder. She is the Arapahoe sophomore who won the Class 5A No. 1 singles championship on May 10 with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Loveland’s defending state champion Rebecca Weissmann. Schroeder’s friend Caroline Carman made the sign that the Warriors displayed in their post-tournament team photo. “I didn’t know she was going to make the sign,” confessed Schroeder. “She came to watch my match. She made a couple signs. They were double-sided. On one said it said ‘Tate the Great’ and on the other side it said ‘Tate for State.’ I just loved it.” Schroeder, who has been nothing short of great, has been named the Colorado Community Media South Metro Girls Tennis Player of the Year. Warriors coach Andrzej Sosnowski wasn’t surprised by the honor or the support shown for Schroeder because she dedicated the season to Claire Davis, the student who was killed in a Dec. 13 shooting at Arapahoe. “Tate is very much a team player,” said Sosnowski. “I can’t speak about the other girls she competes against but when the rest of her team is playing she is always on

Arapahoe High School sophomore Tate Schroeder won the Class 5A state title at No. 1 singles on May 10. Photo by Tom Munds the side of the court and watching them and encouraging them. She could be by herself but she’s so much of a team player. She got a good sense of humor. I’m so proud of her attitude. On the court she’s so focused but off the court she has time for other people.” On the court, Schroeder was nearly unbeatable this season. She was 12-1 with the lone loss a three-set setback in April to

Cheyenne Mountain’s Kalyssa Hall, the winner of the Class 4A No. 1 singles title. “Tate is a very dynamic player,” Sosnowski said. “She’s very aggressive in the way that she plays. She really stays focused when she plays. She attacks the ball a lot and puts pressure on her opponent right from the very first ball. She thrives on pace. “She might prefer her forehand a little

more than her backhand but she’s able to hit winners with both her forehand and backhand. In the last year she’s been working a lot of her serve. So her serve is quite a weapon. “She’s a workhorse on the court. She always gives 100 percent. There’s not a slow gear with her.” Schroeder, the daughter of Denver Broncos cheerleader director Teresa Shear, claims patience has been her biggest improvement this season. “I was a lot more patient this year,” she said. “I waited for the right shot and the right opportunity. That’s something I’ve been working on for a long time. I’m glad it got to show at the state tournament. “I thought it was a great year. I made a lot of new memories and I had a great team. We got third in state, which is the best in school history. I was undefeated in 5A. I was really happy with the results.” Schroeder and Weissmann were recently selected to the National High School Tennis All-American Foundation team. Both players are sophomores, but many elite players skip high school tennis to play in national tournaments. Schroeder hasn’t decided if she will play for Arapahoe as junior. “I’m not sure right now,” she said. “There are a lot of important tournaments during the time of the high school tennis and junior year is an important year for recruitment. “This season was great because the girl I beat (Weissmann) in the finals was No. 18 in the nation. That gave me a good thing to send out to college coaches. High school tennis doesn’t count toward your regular ranking. A lot of college coaches look more at your national ranking than high school tennis.”

Arapahoe senior finishes second at state golf Hannah Wood loses one-hole playoff to Rock Canyon’s Romano By Jim Benton

jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com Hannah Wood was obviously disappointed with her putt but was proud to even be in a playoff. The Arapahoe High School senior lost what wound up being a one-hole playoff to Rock Canyon senior Michelle Romano with the Class 5A state title on the line at Littleton’s Raccoon Creek Golf Club. The University of Oklahoma-bound Wood birdied the 18th hole for a 3-overpar 75 and finished the tournament with a 153 total. Romano also had a 75 and a 153 total. When leader Jaylee Tait of Columbine three-putted the last hole for a double bogey to drop into a third-place tie, Wood and Romano grabbed their clubs and headed to the first hole for a playoff to decide who would be the state champion. Both players hit their second shots onto the green on the par-4 first hole. Wood left her 25-foot birdie putt four feet short on her third shot, while Romano, from 15 feet away, rolled her putt to within two feet of the cup. Wood’s par putt, however, lipped out. And Romano tapped in hers to claim the state individual championship. “It’s disappointing,” said Wood about leaving the birdie putt short. “I just considered the greens to be fast but I guess they kind of slowed down. I knew the hail had some effects on the green.” A weather delay had forced the golfers to take cover for 80 minutes late in the final round with several threesomes still on the course.

When play resumed, Wood bogeyed on the par-3, 17th hole but responded with a birdie on the par-4 18th hole, which got her into the playoff. “My goal is to make birdie no matter what,” said Wood who was 1-under par after the front nine to grab a share of the lead. “Everything I did coming in … and then I lost the playoff hole, things just didn’t seem to go my way.” Wood concluded her prep career with a 10th, two thirds and a second-place finish. “I’m proud of myself no matter what, getting into that playoff,” she said. “This tournament means the world to me. It’s pretty disappointing because I really wanted to win this for Arapahoe considering what we went through as a school (this year).” Also from the area, defending champion Calli Ringsby, of Cherry Creek, appeared ready to challenge for the lead after an eagle on the second hole moved her into a first-place tie. Yet the senior struggled the rest of the round, carding a 79 to wind up in a seventh-place tie on the final leaderboard. Creek was fifth in the team standings, ending its string of three consecutive state titles. Legend junior soccer player Anna Kennedy showed her prowess on the golf course with the tournament’s best final round, a two-over-par 74, and tied for third at 154. Samantha Barker of Highlands Ranch was ninth at 160. Regis Jesuit won the team title with 486 points while runner-up Rock Canyon finished three strokes behind. Also in the top 10, Arapahoe was third, Cherry Creek fifth, Heritage seventh and Legend 10th. In the Class 4A tournament at the Country Club of Colorado, Valor Christian’s Andrea Ballou was the runnerup after rounds of 81 and 79 left her 14 strokes behind runaway winner Jennifer Kupcho of Jefferson Academy.

Arapahoe High’s Hannah Wood was the runner-up in the Class 5A state golf tournament. Photo by Jim Benton

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