Rocky Mountain News

HomeRockyPrepsGirls Tennis

Loeb's quest is a familial one

Sophomore is trying to join father, uncle as a state champion

Published May 13, 2005 at midnight

Rachel Loeb probably would like nothing better than to outshine her father and uncle when it comes to winning state tennis titles. There is no doubt her dad, Alan, and uncle, Larry, hope she does just that.

Loeb, a sophomore at Cherry Creek, took another step Thursday in the Class 5A girls state tennis tournament at the Gates Tennis Center with two wins. She beat Lauren Craig of Arapahoe 6-0, 6-0 in her first-round match at No. 2 singles, then took measure of Green Mountain's Andrea Limpede by the same score in her quarterfinal match.

Alan and Larry were three-time state champions at Denver East in the 1960s. Larry won three No. 1 singles titles (1967-69) and Alan won at No. 1 doubles in 1961, then at No. 1 singles the subsequent two seasons.

Colorado did not allow freshmen to play high school tennis during those years or the brothers perhaps might have been four-time winners.

While Loeb, who was a No. 1 doubles champion last year with partner Oksana Krutiyenko, still has two tough matches ahead, she would like to capture four state titles but does not feel any family pressure.

"Only from what I really put on myself," said Loeb, who has lost only to Class 4A state champion Lauren Miller of Kent Denver during her two seasons. "A lot of people probably think I should be as good as my dad and uncle, but there is no pressure from them at all. They just want me to have fun."

Loeb's win was one of 14 for Cherry Creek. The Bruins, seeking their 23rd state title, advanced players at all positions for their 14 points. Fort Collins is second with 10 and Air Academy third with eight.

Larry Loeb coaches Rachel in the off-season when she is not playing for the Bruins. Along with the Bensons at Cherry Creek and the Elliotts at Grand Junction, the Loebs are one of the most prominent tennis families in the state.

"There is just a huge tennis tradition in our family," Larry Loeb said. "And our dad (Ralph) was a good one, too, the team captain at the University of Denver when he was in college.

"I know Rachel is family, but I don't think I've coached anyone who is as focused and intense as Rachel. Practice or playing, she only has one purpose and that's to win. What she lacks in size, she makes up in the gutsy way she plays."

Said Alan Loeb: "I hope she wins four; that's our dream. We're very excited for her. She has a great head on her shoulders."

Talk about prolonging the agony and playing in agony. There was little doubt Christin Thompson of Lewis-Palmer, Sydney Grubich of Monarch and Laura Tippit of Fairview have a good grasp on the situation.

Thompson, who moved into the 9 a.m. semifinals today in No. 1 singles, still is feeling the effects of a concussion she suffered at an after-prom party, and Grubich, also at No. 1 singles, played with a 103-degree temperature. Grubich was eliminated, losing 6-1, 6-0 to Caitlyn Jackson of Heritage.

Thompson was worried she would not make it through her two matches, a 6-1, 6-1 first-round victory against Julie Wainright of Grandview and a 6-2, 6-1 win against Sarah Templeton of Fairview.

She laughs when she tells about how she suffered her concussion.

"It was after prom and I was doing Sumo wrestling and I hit my head where I didn't have any padding in the (costume) helmet," Thompson said.

"Dumb when you think about it. I felt fine in the first match, but in the second, my head was spinning. I was able to take a medical break because the trainers were watching me closely.

"Sarah was good about it, too. She understood. I just didn't want to quit. I love the sport too much and I just fought through it."

The situation for Tippit, though, was a bit different.

To gain her No. 2 singles quarterfinal victory against freshman Samantha Hess of Lewis-Palmer, she had to overcome squandering nine of match points and holding off two from Hess.

"I was choking match points," said Tippit, who prevailed in the three-set marathon, 7-6 (7-3), 5-7, 7-6 (11-9). "(Hess) was playing very well against me. She had great groundstrokes and I had to find a way to overcome them. I did by trying to push myself harder at the net."

Tippit will play Loeb in the semifinals.

Upsets, for the most part, were fleeting.

Carly Wilson of Boulder pulled off the biggest surprise at No. 1 singles when she beat Inge Schulte of Grand Junction 6-2, 6-3 in the first round.

She could not sustain the momentum, though, losing to Tabatha Knop of Air Academy 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

or 303-892-5275

Back to Top

Search »