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Ponderosa senior Claire Cox won the No. 2 singles championship at the Class 5A State High School Girls Tennis Championship held May 18-20 at the Gate Tennis Center in Denver.
It was the way she won that title that was impressive and one of the reasons she has been selected as the 2017 Colorado Community Media South Metro Girls Tennis Player of the Year.
Cox went three sets before defeating Natakue Slobeth of Arapahoe, 6-4 in the third, during the first-round state tournament match.
In the semifinals, she was on the court for three and half hours before securing a 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 victory over Emma Eckenhausen of Denver East.
The finals against Madi Allen of Mountain Vista didn’t start much better as she lost the first set to love but she stormed back for a 0-6, 6-1, 6-2 championship victory.
“I really just though about all the hard work I put it,” said Cox. “I didn’t want that hard work to go to waste. I love third sets. I like to take the first set to figure out how to beat them.
“To me the first set isn’t about winning the first set necessarily but it is about figuring out my opponent. I know it’s very typical when somebody loses the first set like 6-0, they get discouraged. To me, it’s a brand new match. It is two sets. 0-6 is not a big deal.”
Ponderosa coach Lisa Damico Anderson has been enthralled watching Cox on the tennis court and in school the past four years.
“She sets her own bar and will defy all odds in achieving it,” said Anderson. “She had an amazing tennis career as a Mustang varsity tennis player for four years. She’s not a year-round committed tennis tournament player because she excels so much in life with other venues.
“She’s a great student and will be attending Virginia Tech next year. She finished third at DECA Nationals last year and was a finalist this year. She is proof you can have a life outside of competitive tennis and still be an overachiever. Her special sauce is her heart and focus. When she’s in tennis season she gives 100 percent. When she’s performing for DECA, she’s a 100 percent. She sets the bar for herself and hits her goals.”
Cox kept a tennis journal and included notes about herself and opponents.
“I knew I had a shot to win state this year,” she admitted. “I really wanted to stretch myself and see that through. I wrote a whole page about how I was going to win state. I wanted to honor my commitment to myself.”
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