PUEBLO – Having never played in a state championship match, Lila Moldenhauer’s nerves were on display early. The Kent Denver sophomore put up a fight, but ultimately dropped the first set to Mullen’s Lexi Yost.

When the second set started, Moldenhauer was too fired up to be nervous. She settled into her game and dominated the rest of the way, beating Yost 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 to capture the Class 4A girls tennis No. 1 singles title.

“[Lexi] is a great player,” Moldenhauer said. “She came in super strong and I just had to find my game and I think I did that pretty well. I was really nervous, I’ve never been in a state championship before.”

Fighting an ankle sprain that she suffered on Friday, she put together two solid sets, leaving no doubt as to who the top player in the position was for the weekend.

It was a goal from the start of the season, but she was never going to let the hope victory become a hurdle that she had to overcome to complete the process.

“I never want to say that I thought that [I would win],” Moldenhauer said. “I’m just proud of myself that I ended up here.”

She showed signs of frustration through the first set as Yost began building a lead. When Yost finished it off, Moldenhauer took a deep breath and tried to reset her frame of mind and settle into a groove. She blitzed out to a 3-0 lead in the second set and really felt like she had settled into the match at that point.

“I feel like that gave me a little more confidence to go out and hit my shots,” Moldenhauer said. “I started playing the kind of tennis that I feel represents me. Confident and going for my shots. Not playing tentative.”

Despite the loss, Yost still has work to do in the next few days as she’ll try and lead Mullen to a team title in the team dual finals against Cheyenne Mountain on Saturday at Denver City Park.

But the individual accolades belong to Kent Denver. The Sun Devils sent four positions to final matches, getting wins in No. 1 singles, No. 1 doubles (Brooke Roper-Zuckert and Victoria Strobos) and No. 3 doubles (Margaux Lively and Sofia Begal).

Cheyenne Mountain also had a good day with five positions advancing to finals. The day got started with a win in No. 3 singles as Saffron Heroldt beat Kent Denver’s Meredith Waters 6-4, 6-0. The Red-Tailed Hawks also got a win in No. 3 doubles as Brooke Ballenger and Hope Lewis took the crown.

Niwot got a win in No. 2 doubles as freshman Sahasra Kolli cruised to her first state title.

Mullen’s lone title of the day came at No. 4 doubles with Emma Lehman and Grace Jeffers battling to a three-set win.

This is the first year that the individual and team championships are decided at different locations. The team championship dual between Cheyenne Mountain and Mullen will be played at Denver City Park on Tuesday.


4A girls tennis individual champions

No. 1 singles: Lila Moldenhauer (Kent Denver)

No. 2 singles: Sahasra Kolli (Niwot)

No. 3 singles: Saffron Heroldt (Cheyenne Mountain)

No. 1 doubles: Brooke Roper-Zuckert/Victoria Strobos (Kent Denver)

No. 2 doubles: Brooke Ballenger/Hope Lewis (Cheyenne Mountain)

No. 3 doubles: Margaux Lively/Sofia Begal (Kent Denver)

No. 4 doubles: Emma Lehman/Grace Jeffers (Mullen)