DENVER — After Fairview junior Quinn Bernthal lost the first set of her Class 5A No. 1 singles match with a 6-3 score at City Park on Saturday, she didn’t panic.

She stopped focusing on the score and returned to her game instead.

She stormed back in the second set to bury Cherry Creek’s Lorena Cedeno 6-1, then had to dig deep in the third to pull off her long-awaited state crown. Cedeno’s early 3-0 lead in the third set forced her to switch up her strategy a bit.

Bernthal came out more aggressive, then won four straight games to retake the lead. After Cedeno tied the set back up at 4-4, Bernthal put an end to it to finish out her season with a 6-4 victory.

Her teammates, who could barely contain their excitement on the other side of the fence, rushed toward her jumping and screaming. Bernthal couldn’t stop grinning.

“I think each year for the past few years, I’ve been crying during this interview, so it’s a little bit of a happy change to get to be smiling now,” Bernthal said. “My team is so great.”

Her father, Brad, nervously watched from his foldable chair throughout the entire thing. He lauded the mental work she put in in the offseason, since losing the No. 1 singles title match to Boulder’s Lily Chitambar last year.

“She played the strategy that I would not have suggested and just got so aggressive in coming forward. I thought she volleyed probably about as well as I’ve ever seen Quinn volley. Brave tennis paid off,” Brad said. “I would have advised that she’d be more patient, kind of like the second set, and keep Lorena deep and find your ball as opposed to forcing shots. I thought, in the third, she started to force shots and then come in, but she backed it up unbelievably well.”

On the far court, all while Quinn’s match was going on, her No. 1 doubles teammates had been engaged in a battle of their own. After Fairview seniors Virginia Gomulka and Lizzy Roth wrapped up their own state title victory over Regis Jesuit’s Quinn Binaxas and Mary Clare Watts, they joined in on the fun at Quinn’s court.

“We have so many great seniors and they won their match, so I fed off the energy from them,” Quinn said. “They were so supportive during my match, because it was definitely super tough. Lorena is such a great player and such a good friend, too, that I knew it was going to be a battle and they definitely really helped me.”


5A girls tennis individual champions

No. 1 singles: Quinn Bernthal (Fairview)

No. 2 singles: Anika Sharma (Cherry Creek)

No. 3 singles: Jisele Boker (Cherry Creek)

No. 1 doubles: Virginia Gomulka/Elizabeth Roth (Fairview)

No. 2 doubles: Maya Brakage/Jane Roth (Fairview)

No. 3 doubles: Farrah Bendell/Karissa Manley (Cherry Creek)

No. 4 doubles: Julia Karlberg/Zoey Hao (Cherry Creek)