Denver senior Michelle Garpenlov writes about her experience at the 2015 Summit League Women's Tennis Championship:
We left campus at 8 a.m. on Thursday morning to go to Indiana for our league tournament. We had a two-hour flight and road trip a head of us and we all were tired but excited about what this weekend was going to offer. We arrived about twenty minutes before our conference banquet was going to start and we rushed to get ready for it. Prizes were handed out five girls on our team made the all-league team and we won the regular season title after going undefeated through all of our matches. I (Michelle) had the honor to go up and receive our prize and it was an amazing feeling that we had won it again second year in a row. After the banquet we had tennis practice from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. After a long day of traveling we all thought that this was going to be a long and tough practice but it turned out to be one of the better ones we have had this whole year and it was so fun to see the team all fired up for the weekend. After that it was bedtime.
We got to sleep a little bit today, which means we woke up at around 8:30 a.m. and had breakfast. This day was all about practice and getting ready for tomorrows semifinal. We had practice from 10:30 a.m. till 12:00. After this we went to lunch and then we had practice for a second time from 2:00 p.m. till 4:00 p.m. The first practice we did a lot of doubles drills and match play and the second practice was more about singles. It was amazing to see how focused we were during these practices because we knew that even though we had won against all of the teams earlier in the year we wanted to be as prepared as possible for this weekend. The two goals that we set for this weekend and ourselves were effort and positivity. These were the two things that our coaches wanted us to think about when playing these other teams. After this we showered and went to dinner with University of Denver Men’s Tennis. It was fun to be able to hang out and talk to the guys because we are both going into the tournament with a target on our back, being the team that is predicted to win conference. It is never easy being the favorite to win and many people have high expectations on you so the dinner worked as a little break from thinking about conference. After dinner most of us went to our rooms and either did some homework or watched TV before going to bed.
Today is the day we play league semifinals. We all woke up and had breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Since the weather was really bad and it was raining, the matches were moved indoors. Our match was scheduled at 2:00 p.m. After breakfast most of us went back to bed and got another hour and half of sleep before getting ready to leave for lunch. Once we had lunch we went straight to the courts where we were going to play our match. This is where we had hit on Thursday night so we all knew how the courts are, which is always a comfortable feeling. We warmed up and hit for an hour before our match and there was a lot of positive energy coming from everyone on the team. We were all pumped up, excited and ready to go for our match. We started with doubles and all of us played very well. We clinched our matches at number one and two doubles so they got done first. After we realized we won the doubles point we all gathered around to get mentally prepared for the singles matches that were a head of us. We all felt good and everyone who was playing singles did their own thing for about five minutes to prepare themselves. We got good leads on all courts and Evy [Van Genechten] was the one who clinched the win 4-0. It was great feeling but also a relief to have completed our first match and knowing that we are in the final. We worked hard and had positive attitudes throughout the whole day, which lead to success. We want to give credit to South Dakota for competing hard that day. After this we had dinner and as the day before we all went to our rooms and did whatever we had to do to prepare for the next day.
The league final has finally come and the day started with breakfast at 8:30 a.m. As the day before our match time was at 2 p.m. or as soon as the boys finished up their match. After breakfast we went back to our rooms, dressed into our match outfits and packed our bags. We left the hotel at 11 a.m. to get lunch and go watch the men’s conference final. This time the weather was better and we were able to play outside. It was fun seeing the guys play and they did really well. Once they had won the conference title we got on the courts and warmed up for our match. We warmed up and went through our normal routine before matches. The energy was on top and we were all excited about the match and challenge that was a head of us. Doubles started at 1:30 p.m. and as yesterday we played very good doubles. Charlotte [Derbyshire] and I clinched the doubles point and gave the team a 1-0 lead. We all gathered around for another pep talk before heading out for singles. Looking up at the scoreboard we were up on all courts in the first set by a lot. Our team was playing very well today and probably the best we had played against a conference team all year. It was very exciting and fun to watch. Everyone was doing the two goals we set for ourselves before the weekend, positive and effort. This time Charlotte was the won who got to clinch the match with a 6-3 6-1 victory. We all ran into a group hug and it was a great feeling. Knowing that all of the hours on and off the court, the traveling and the matches we had played had prepared us for this moment. It is so worth it! South Dakota State played very well against us and it was a battle until the end. We achieved two goals in one day that we set for ourselves this year and that was to win conference and make it to NCAA and we did it. There is no way to describe the feeling of accomplishing something that you have been working for all year but we are going dancing. For some people this is their first conference victory and for others this will be their last but for all of us this is a memory that we will cherish and remember the rest of our lives.
Don’t forget to check out the next edition of My Championship Experience as it follows Summit League spring sports championships in May.