Cougars’ Greagor, Greene earn state tourney bid

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By Michael Hicks

DENVER — Emilee Greagor and Emily Greene had little time to feel elation or pity for themselves. After all, it was prom night.
But Evergreen’s No. 2 doubles team didn’t have to feel sorry for themselves anyway. Despite a 6-4, 6-1 loss to Katie Fischer and Kyla Sherap of Colorado Academy in the 4A Region 1 finals May 4, the Lady Cougars, because of their second-place finish, are headed to state.
Back-to-back straight-set victories to open the two-day tournament ensured the Evergreen tandem a berth in the regional finals. And a victory by Regis Jesuit’s  Nicole Nemechek and Abby Hegarty, who lost to Greagor and Greene earlier in the semifinals, secured the state berth.
“(They) worked really hard. They stayed together as a team and were much more aggressive this weekend in their play so they earned it,” Evergreen head coach Kris Nielsen said.
Greagor and Greene will begin play May 10 in the three-day 4A state championships at Pueblo’s City Park.
Overall, Evergreen placed fourth in the 10-team field with 40 points. Host Colorado Academy, behind four first-place finishes, clipped Regis Jesuit, which had three titles, 81-77. Alexander Dawson came in third with 48.
All six Evergreen participants — in both singles and doubles -- placed in the top four. No. 2 singles Katherine Hardy, No. 3 doubles Madi Slack and Erika Chado and No. 4 doubles Rachel Chado and Madison Rogers placed third.
Rachel Chado and Rogers nearly played their way back into state. After scoring a come-from-behind three-set victory for third place over Lulu McRoberts and Faith Rankin of Alexander Dawson 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), in which they were a point away from losing in the final-set tiebreaker, they faced CA’s Eva Bray and Olivia Caldwell-Nepveux in a playback match. Unfortunately, their bid for state ended with a 6-1, 6-3 defeat, but Coach Nielsen said they had nothing to hang their heads about.
“They fought hard. They had almost a three-hour match the one leading into this last one. They worked very hard and won it in the third-set tiebreak. Then fought back in the second set here. I was really proud of them ending up from 1-6 to 3-6. If you’re improving in the second set you’re fighting harder and working stronger. So really proud they gave it a fight to the very end.”
Coming in fourth were No. 3 singles Kristin Shirk and No. 1 doubles Genevieve DeGrandchamp and Carly Booth.
“I’m very proud of all of the girls. Some of the competition is very stiff. We look forward to working with the girls in the offseason and having an even stronger season next year,” Nielsen said.
Evergreen, however, played without No. 1 singles player Morgan Nielsen, who withdrew from the tournament due to injury.