After a fast and furious regular season of men’s tennis, the playoffs have arrived with plenty of intrigue and excitement surrounding the new state team tournament. The committee selected the top 16 schools from each classification to compete in a single-elimination, double-style format to crown the new state tag team champion.
The first round of each ranking begins this Wednesday, and there are plenty of exciting opening matchups to kick things off.
(1) Cherry Creek vs. (16) Heritage
The Bruins begin their quest for a 45th men’s state title by taking on the Heritage Eagles. With the return of No. 1 singles champion Aram Izmirian leading a deep and talented team, it’s hard to imagine anyone threatening this team before at least the semi-finals. But Heritage will give their best with talented freshmen Will Moses and James Long playing singles Nos. 1 and 2. But with more seniors like Kiril Kostadinov and Jack Eikelberner at the top of the lineup, Cherry Creek remains once again the big favourite.
(8) Grandview vs. (9) Monarch
Wolves have perhaps their best team led by senior first-year Eduard Tsaturyan of Russia. He is one of the favorites to win the No. 1 individual 5A singles title, but the rest of the squad is also stacked with young singles players Blake Hardin and Justin Son at No. 2 and 3 in singles as well as many seniors in the doubles positions. . But the Monarch Coyotes also have great singles players, while Luke Jensen and Callum Conaghan have had great senior seasons. Both teams are looking for their best result at the state in the history of their respective programs.
(4) Fossil Ridge vs. (13) Rock Canyon
The Fossil Ridge Sabercats have to be given a lot of credit because their team lost so many seniors from last year’s squad, including their top three singles players. But here they are again, earning another top-four seed as second Tyler Van Tassell is the young leader of another senior-laden team. The Rock Canyon Jaguars have survived the slugfest that was the Continental League and are hoping seniors Michal New, Nicholas Pita and Ian Gruczcynski can get the most out of Fort Collins.
(5) Arapahoe vs. (12) Rocky Mountain
The Warriors of Arapahoe are perhaps in the middle of their best season with a deep doubles roster, and have senior leaders Tyler Rock and Jack Winslow at one and three singles and excellent rookie No. 1 singles Cale Brush at the top. . But they face a difficult task in the Rocky Mountain Lobos who had their own senior singles stars, Bridger Galyardt and Braden Peterson, looking to defeat the Centennial League finalists. Also keep an eye out for No. 2 doubles players Levi Teck and Rocky Mountain’s Drake Solley, as their only loss this season was close to fourth-seeded Fossil Ridge.
(2) Valor Christian vs. (15) Fort Collins
The Eagles earned the second seed after finishing in second place last season at State, and they still have perhaps the best chance to dethrone defending champion Cherry Creek. Christian Trevey has been one of the best No. 1 singles players in the state this year, and rookie Jace Nakamura has also been an excellent No. 2 in singles. Add in perhaps the No. 1 doubles favorites – Graham Beukelman and Drew Schell – and it could be Valor’s best chance of winning its first state title. Fort Collins is the first team to stand in their way, as the Lambkins are the third team to leave their hometown, showing just how deep tennis is in the north. It will take up to the depth of the Lambkins’ doubles teams to try to stun Valor.
(7) Denver East vs. (10) Fairview
A rematch of a battle from the previous season that went the way of the Angels, 4-3, this might be the most entertaining 5A first-round game. These are two programs with big stories that have seen recent success, and Trevor Hajek and Caden Bell’s No. 1 singles battle highlights what looks to be a very close game. The No. 3 single is also a strength for both teams, with junior Noah Bodner and senior Lucas Krambeck both having had stellar seasons. It will most likely end up coming down to pairs doubles as all four games were close the first time around and Fairview sophomores Jake Boston and Charlie Gomulka could be the difference maker as they have been the Knights’ most consistent line all the season.
(3) Regis Jesuit vs (14) Boulder
Although not the old Raiders of the past with starring Morgan Schilling and Conor Kaczmarczyk, Regis is still very talented with strong depth across the board. Freshman Clay Dickey leads a team that still has a chance to upset Valor and Creek, but the Raiders must first get past the Boulder Panthers, who played them tight earlier in the season in a 2 loss. -5. A squad full of seniors is always dangerous, and the No. 1 doubles team of Chase Lewis and Andre Parham in particular could pose the biggest threat.
(6) Ralston Valley vs. (11) Mountain Vista
Our latest 5A game also features the RV Mustangs in the midst of one of their best seasons in program history. Junior Calder Hardin in No. 2 singles has been terrific so far this season, and the No. 2 doubles team of Coby Elola and Evan Dozon look like genuine individual state title contenders at their position on the Premier League. ‘ladder. The Golden Eagles will respond with good doubles depth in the lineup, as well as their own singles No. 2, Sampreet Bheemireddy, in what should be the strongest individual matchup of this strong first-round duo.
(1) Kent Denver vs. (16) University
In 4A, the Kent Denver Sun Devils will be the heavy favorites to win their 12th state championship, as they’ve rolled through every school so far, and even nearly beat the 5A powerhouse titans Cherry Creek. Led by singles No. 1 Nathan Gold, along with a group of brothers from the Haymons and Morgans, this team looks set to cruise through the title shot in their rankings. University will be the first team on the way to the Sun Devils, as the Bulldogs have had a great season, but will have a tough task ahead of them on Wednesday.
(8) Niwot vs. (9) Grand Junction
This might be the best opening round game in 4A as the Niwot Cougars have a great brace at the top of their roster which includes No. 1 singles semi-finalist Luke Weber and reigning No. 2 singles champion LiChen Liao . Add to that the fantastic young No. 1 doubles pairing of Oskar Hansen and Sebastian Moy, and this is a team with the talent to upset anyone. But they have a tough opponent coming out of Grand Junction, as the Tigers crashed their schedule with their only flaw being the 5A juggernaut Regis Jesuit. Even then, they’ve pushed the Raiders down multiple lines and have deep doubles teams, so this has the makings of an extremely close contest.
(4) Colorado Academy vs. (13) Thomas Jefferson
The CA Mustangs have bounced back a lot in 2022 as they may have their best roster since their 2018 championship team. With just a few seniors they should be around for a while as well, especially the double No. 1 of Charlie May and Michael McKee, as well as the No. 2 doubles duo of Luca Siringo and Rowan Brown being the highlights of this team. The TJ Spartans will need to rely on their own senior doubles stars No. 1 Alex Lee and Owen Robert if they are to be able to pull off the upset.
(5) Mullen vs. (12) Peak to Peak
Speaking of Mustangs, Mullen is another team having a rebound year as the team has a lot of depth and seniors throughout. Senior Jack Barker leads a team that has plenty of potential to make a deep run in the new state tournament, assuming they can get past the Peak to Peak Pumas. The singles players are Lafayette’s pride force, as sophomores Derek Toth, Ben Swartz and Dhruv Shajikumar will need to play their best tennis to defeat the No. 5 favorites.
(2) Cheyenne Mountain vs. (15) Thompson Valley
The Red Tailed Hawks shared the title with Kent Denver last year, but with the new team format in place, a tie is no longer possible at the top. But Cheyenne is still one of the deepest teams in the state with an excellent doubles group led by seniors Hank Walsh and Matt Peterson. The Colorado Springs powerhouse is trying to join Creek as the only teams to win 20 state titles, but to do so this year they must start by eliminating the Thompson Valley Eagles. TV still has a tough lineup with No. 2 singles player Mason Ramirez providing the Loveland team’s best chance to steal a few wins from the Springs.
(7) D’Evelyn vs. (10) Coronado
The D’Evelyn Jaguars are coming off their best season in program history, but the state’s No. 1 junior singles finalist Aswaanth Karuppasamy leads a team hungry for more success. The Jags are tested a lot this year against top 4As and 5As, and No. 3 singles player Xalen Mitchell and the No. 2 doubles team of Mateo Zimmer and Elias are the other standout lines. They will be tested by another strong Springs team in Coronado, a program in the middle of their most successful run as well. Led by junior stars Miles Hoover in singles No. 1 and Thomas Stewart in singles No. 2, the Cougars will be looking to see if they can upset the Jags.
(3) Denver South vs. (14) Dawson
The Ravens of South have had an amazing season, playing a tough schedule and finding tons of success over their 4A rivals. Big wins over rivals Mullen, D’Evelyn and Colorado Academy prove this team is real. The seniors have been scattered throughout this tough team’s doubles, but No. 2 singles player Max Morales could be the team’s strongest line. The Dawson Mustangs lost their best singles players from last year, but still have a strong team with young, talented doubles players. They will need a good day to test the Ravens.
(6) George Washington vs. (11) Evergreen
Our latest game features a GW Patriots team that has pushed some of the best schools in the state all season long. No. 2 singles Andrew Rettig and No. 3 singles Ryan Hajek have been strong all year. But don’t sleep on the Evergreen Cougars, as they return a deep squad with tons of young talent, including junior Sam Billups at No. 1 in singles. This final first-round battle should be a close and entertaining affair.