As if trying to play high-level club volleyball wasn't enough, Bayfield High School's Mavis Edwards somehow found time this spring to star on a different sort of court.
And despite being a freshman, she shined brighter than all others in Colorado's Class 4A girls' tennis realm.
All except one, that is.
Representing Durango High as one of an impressive nine Demons qualifying for the three-day state championships at Pueblo City Park, Edwards found herself facing Englewood Kent Denver sophomore Josephine Schaffer last Saturday for the No. 1 Singles crown.
But after having beaten Monument Lewis-Palmer junior Emma Gaydos (6-3, 6-1), Colorado Springs Discovery Canyon sophomore Mattie Kuntzelman (5-7, 7-6, 6-3) and Pueblo West senior Sara Schoenbeck (6-4, 6-2) to reach the ultimate test, Edwards knew she could hold nothing back to have any hope of winning.
If not the match, a set. If not a set, a game. And if not a game, then a point.
"I'd played her in doubles at a tournament, and we somehow won," she said, after swiftly returning to BHS that evening to watch older brother Fred in his final Wolverine Baseball appearance. "But it's different in singles! Definitely right off the bat it was hard. I was just doing everything I could, and she was too good."
"Josie's tough, Josie's fit, Josie's well-trained," concurred mother and DHS assistant coach Vivian Edwards. "Mavis gave her the best that she had, and it was a great battle. Mavis would get a couple points per game, but Josie's a hard contender."
Schaffer had swept Schoenbeck 6-4, 6-2 for the title last spring and defended it 6-1, 6-2 against Edwards.
"She hit with a lot of spin, so it pushed me back a lot," Edwards said. "But every chance I had, I went to the net. I was rallying more than trying to finish points too early. Rallying...the odds are better in your favor."
She then noted another aspect of her game which would have improved her chances.
"Being more consistent in my shots," she stated with a grin. "Sometimes they're just all over the place,"
"She's relieved it's over!" joked Vivian Edwards. "But we had a great season, the girls got along great, the coaches did. It took a lot of us to get it to work, and it went beautifully. We were excited that we took nine girls to State and three of them placed! It was really good."
With No. 2 Doubles partners Lily Chick and Emily West salvaging third place 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 over Niwot's Amanda Duquette and Erin O'Neill, Durango placed fifth overall with its 26 team points, edging NHS' 24.
Capturing a ninth consecutive team championship, Colorado Springs Cheyenne Mountain-including the No. 2 Doubles-winning Ariana Arenson/Taylor Heinicke tandem-dominated the standings with 91 points while KD took second with 46. Highlands Ranch Valor Christian (39) was third and Monument Palmer Ridge (31) fourth.
Working with fellow assistant coach Sue Lawton under head coach Dani Phillis, Vivian Edwards noted the likely return of two of DHS' three State placers should bode well for 2018.
"West is graduating, and Lily's looking forward to coming back and hopefully playing some singles for us," she said. "So we're going to get in shape this summer, get a lot of good practice and develop, and get ready!"
TAKING NAMES: Mavis Edwards had beaten State semifinal opponent Schoenbeck 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in the previous weekend's regional, helping the Demons wrest the team title from 2016 champs PWHS prior to State.
Pueblo South, Canon City and P-West followed Durango in the meet's standings.
Another high-profile foe Edwards toppled at State was Kuntzelman, the Class 4A No. 2 Singles champion (DCHS' first-ever State title of any kind in girls' tennis) in 2016.