DENVER — By the time Fairview sophomore Quinn Bernthal was playing in her third set of the Class 5A state semifinals at Gates Tennis Center on Friday, the rest of her teammates had finished their own semifinal matches.
The Knights, who had sent six of their seven lines to the semis, transformed into the loudest cheerleaders for their No. 1 singles teammate as they boisterously supported her after every point she won. That energy helped push Bernthal past Cherry Creek’s Jacqueline Pearsall in a daunting third set.
Pearsall claimed the first set before Bernthal started to shake off the nerves. Once Bernthal regained her composure, she mastered the second set with a 6-2 score. Pearsall, however, wasn’t going to let her take the third set that easily.
The two ladies battled the first few games and tied at 2-2 early. After that, Bernthal started to take control and built up a 5-2 lead before putting her away with a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 final. In doing so, she punched her ticket to the 1 singles title match to take on fellow Boulderite Lily Chitambar, who won the 1 singles title last year for Boulder High.
It will be the first all-Boulder school 1 singles final in 52 years of the sport’s existence in the Colorado high school sphere.
“It took me a little while to find my forehand, and I think I kind of got it back in the second and third set and was able to play a little bit more free,” Bernthal said. “I kind of just tried to hit a little deeper and tried to just relax myself like, ‘I want to play how I want to remember the match.’”
She’ll certainly never forget the performance she put down on Friday morning.
A year, earlier, Bernthal played her way to the title match at 3 singles, only to fall to Cherry Creek’s Anika Sharma. Now, she’ll get a shot at state glory after proving herself to be one of the top two tennis players in Colorado.
Her title match will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Gates Tennis Center.
“I usually don’t get too worked up but this match meant a little bit more to me, so that was exciting,” she said. “(The cheering) helped a lot. I was really pumped up in the third set. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for a match. Their energy really kept me going.”
Boulder’s Chitambar stays undefeated
It’s hard to stay perfect with the level of tennis being played in Colorado these days, but Boulder senior Chitambar has proven herself to be elite even among the elite.
She’s had quite the target on her back all season long after claiming the Class 5A state crown at 1 singles in 2021, but she’s let that fuel her straight back to the finals on …….