VIDEO: Top 10 plays of the Spring 2019 season.
After nearly a three-month hiatus, Colorado high school sports are back in action. The 2019-20 athletic season kicked off with the start of boys golf practice and competition last week, and the rest of the slate of sports got going with practice on Aug. 12.
Among the sports that will look different come championship weekend is boys tennis. Both Richter Jordaan of Colorado Academy (Denver)
and Christian Holmes of Chatfield (Littleton)
graduated, paving the way for new champions to be crowned at No. 1 Singles in 2019.
It won't be a surprise to see some of the same teams in the championship hunt come mid-October, but there is a slew of returning players that will have a chance to do something special and try to make their way to a state championship podium. Regionals will be completed by Oct. 12, with the state tournaments set for Oct. 17-19.Class 5A
Following Holmes' back-to-back 5A titles, a new favorite has emerged in the No. 1 singles picture. Regis Jesuit (Aurora)
junior Morgan Schilling looked dominant in his first three matches at Gates Tennis Center. In those matches, Schilling lost just 12 total games.
But his run at a gold medal came to a screeching halt against Holmes. The defending champion won 7-5, 7-5 to hold off Schilling.
"That was a tough loss for me," Schilling said. "I came in confident and after that I kind of took hit. Over the last year I've been working hard to get better. This year I feel a lot more confident because I know what it's like to play on that big of a state in front of a big audience."
Schilling didn't come away empty-handed as the Raiders claimed the 5A team title.
In No. 2 Singles, Broomfield
's Austin Katternhorn had a similar tournament result that Schilling did. He played well through the first three rounds before falling to Regis Jesuit's Kosta Garger.
Raiders sophomore Conor Kaczmarczyk claimed gold in No. 3 Singles last year and could be in line for a move up to the No. 2 spot with Garger having graduated in May.
Emilio Gonzalez-Cruz and Evan Nuss are two more Regis Jesuit champions who return in 2019. The duo claimed gold in No. 1 Doubles and add to the Raiders' impressive list of four returning all-state players (with Schilling and Kaczmarczyk).Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
juniors Matt Batmunkh and Andrew Marocchi won the only gold medals for the Bruins in 2018 as they came away with the No. 2 Doubles title. A move up to No.1 Doubles might be in store, but they'll be two players who are essential in dethroning Regis Jesuit as the team champion.
A pair of Denver East
Angels also come into the fall with doubles gold to their names. Jack Abbey and Barry Dechtman grabbed the No. 3 Doubles title with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Ryan Grayson and Adam Heilbronner of Fairview (Boulder).
Sophomores John Shelby and Brady Elliott won the No. 4 Doubles title to give Fossil Ridge (Fort Collins)
its only tennis championship last fall. They, too, might be in line to move up a position but with championship experience in their pocket, they'll do what they can to win a second title.Class 4ANeil Wilcox
was humbled by his semifinal result at Pueblo City Park last year. The now-junior at Niwot
went into the No. 1 Singles bracket thinking he had better than a good chance at coming away with a state title.
But Richter Jordaan wasn't going to be stopped. After finishing second as a freshman in No. 2 Singles, Jordaan battled his way through the top singles bracket as a senior. Along the way, he knocked out Wilcox, who now comes into 2019 as a favorite to claim gold at state.
"Last year I went in pretty confident," Wilcox said. "I thought I had a really good chance. I lost because I was over-confident. This year I just have to go in, make sure I'm playing my game and not spend too much time thinking about it."
Wilcox went 6-2, 6-1 and 6-3, 6-3 to work his way into the semifinals before falling to Jordaan. Colorado Academy won the 4A team title, and Niwot claimed second. Those two teams will likely be battling for the top spot again this year.
Colorado Academy returns a staggering eight all-state players in 2019. Senior Caleb Aguirre won the No. 2 Singles title last year and is in a prime spot to take over the top position for the defending champs this fall. If that turns out to be the case, the bracket may belong to Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado Springs)
senior Paul Jones. He is likely to stay in the position as Joey Geisz returns as a senior for the Indians in the No. 1 position.
Colorado Academy junior Braeden Thomas claimed gold in No. 3 Singles. With Jordaan gone, Thomas may get an opportunity to go for gold in a tougher position. Kent Denver (Englewood)
senior Trent Beckman made a strong run in that bracket and will play a big role as the Sun Devils look to regain the state crown this fall.
Colorado Academy nearly swept through the doubles brackets, only losing in the championship of No. 3 Doubles. It was Kent Denver's William Coors and Casey Klutznick who claimed gold, but with both players graduating, the door is open for the Mustangs.
Sophomores Nicholas Dietrich and Will Smart won No. 2 Doubles, while Will Miller and Ryan Gaghen (also sophomores) won No. 4 Doubles. With all those players returning, Colorado Academy has to be viewed as a favorite to come away with a second straight 4A title.