DENVER — Ralston Valley sophomore Scarlett Lutz shook the hand of Cherry Creek sophomore Zoe Hochstadt after Lutz’s 6-2, 7-5 victory in the No. 3 singles match at the Denver Tennis Park on Tuesday morning.

But it wasn’t just any straight set victory. Lutz took a step over the net and was mobbed by all her teammates as the Mustangs could celebrate winning the Class 5A team title for the first time in the program’s history.

“It has been 21 years in the making for me,” Ralston Valley longtime girls tennis coach Kim Greason said. “The culture that we started when I first started here. Building it up until this. Getting the girls to believe and buy in. They were all in.”

Ralston Valley was the No. 1 seed for the 16-team 5A team tournament that began April 24. However, No. 2 Cherry Creek came in having won 25 team titles over the last 26 seasons, minus the COVID year where the Spring season of 2020 was cancelled.

“This was a true team effort. It’s Cherry Creek. We knew this wasn’t going to be easy,” Greason said of knocking off the 39-time state champions. “They have been here before. They know what it is like and we didn’t. For our girls to pull through in this environment that they had never been in before and do what they did today … I’m in awe.”

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

Lutz, who according to Greason had a temperature of over 100 the night before, was able to get a key break in the second set to take a 6-5 lead and then served out the match.

“I didn’t think I had the strength or endurance to go three sets,” Lutz said. “Serving up 6-5 was really nerve-racking. After I got the first two points I knew I had it.”

The state team title also made history for Jeffco Public Schools. It is the first time a Jeffco school has won the largest classification team title in girls tennis. D’Evelyn has won four 3A team titles over the past decade.

“It means everything. We have been trying to go after Creek for so many years,” Lutz said. “They are so dominate in every sport, especially tennis. We believed since the beginning of the year that we could do it.”

Ralston Valley’s No. 1 doubles — juniors Adia Farling and Cassidy Gordon — got things going with a 6-1, 6-4 victory. Moments later, the Mustangs’ No. 3 doubles — freshman Mataya Farling and sophomore Sofia Elola — wrapped up a 6-3, 6-2 win to put Ralston Valley up 2-0.

Both the Mustangs’ No. 1 and No. 3 doubles teams captured 5A individual titles at the state tournament last Saturday at Denver City Park.

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

“They set the tone,” Greason said of the Mustangs’ No. 1 double team. “They set the tone in practices. They set the tone in matches. They’re positivity and support for everyone across the line. They pick each other up when they are down. That comes with playing two years in a row together.”

Cherry Creek’s state championship No. 2 — Riley Loehr and Zoey Hao — and No. 4 — Julie Karlberg and Beth Munro — doubles teams were able to get a pair of victories on the board for the Bruins.

The pivotal match came when Ralston Valley sophomore Emerson Bonner defeated Cherry Creek senior Jisele Boker 7-5, 6-4. Boker had taken a 3-set victory in a state semifinal match last week at the state tournament.

Ralston Valley senior Ally Lowe and No. 1 singles said in practice the day before they had worked on Boker’s style of play to have Bonner ready for the rematch. Lowe also gave the sophomore some good advice.

“I just told her (Bonner) to keep believing that she could win,” Lowe said.

Bonner had placed third in the individual 5A state tournament over the weekend after losing to Boker in the semifinals.

“She (Bonner) got down early in that first set. I think she was down 5-2 and came back,” Greason said. “That showed the grit, determination and focus.”

Ralston Valley held a 3-2 lead with just Lutz and the No. 1 singles match between Lowe and Cherry Creek senior Anika Sharma, remaining.

“I knew Ally had lost the first set in her match and that was going to be a tough one,” Lutz said of the No. 3 and No. 1 single matches left on the court. “I knew it was going to come down to me. I knew I had all the support from my team and family. That helped a lot.”

Lowe was up 3-2 in the second set after dropping the first set in a tiebreaker, but it didn’t matter. The No. 1 single match was stopped after Lutz’s win clinched the team victory.

“She is probably one of the biggest team players on our team,” Greason said of Lutz. “This important to here and I think that is why she loved having that on her shoulders at that moment.”

Class 5A girls tennis team championship results:

No. 1 Singles Championship clinched before match was complete
No. 2 Singles Emerson Bonner Ralston Valley 7-5, 6-4
No. 3 Singles Scarlett Lutz* Ralston Valley 6-2, 7-5
No. 1 Doubles Aida Farling/Cassidy Gordon Ralston Valley 6-1, 6-4
No. 2 Doubles Riley Loehr/Zoey Hao Cherry Creek 6-2, 6-4
No. 3 Doubles Tay Darling/Sofia Elola Ralston Valley 6-3, 6-2
No. 4 Doubles Julia Karlberg/Beth Munro Cherry Creek 6-4, 6-1

* – Championship clinching point