At home with his brother on Tuesday, Harrison Lang signed his national letter of intent to play tennis at Creighton University, accomplishing his Division-I tennis dream.
In redeeming fashion, Harrison Lang won his second No. 1 singles state title as a senior in 2012, defeating Kent Denver's David Mitchell after falling in the finals to Mitchell his junior season.
With Harrison Lang heading to the college ranks as a two-time Class 4A Colorado champion, the vacancy of the Cougars' top singles spot won't be easily filled.
But how best to fill a void left by a state champion Lang? With another.
"Spencer's definitely better than me at his age. I think he'll continue to get a lot better as he plays these national tournaments," Harrison Lang said. "He has a ton of experience, more than me, because he started earlier. I think that will really help him in these next few years. He'll be tough."
Harrison Lang said he looks forward to seeing his younger brother, whose skills he believes aren't far behind his own, playing in the state finals in upcoming years.
As Harrison Lang blazed the family's prep tennis trail, Spencer Lang always tagged along closely behind him. While Harrison Lang learned difficult lessons and found success, Spencer Lang absorbed them.
And he'll continue to do so.
"I'm grateful to be following in his path," Spencer Lang said. "He's taught me so much. We get to hit all the time and I learn from all of his stuff and I've gotten a lot better. I can draw on his experiences in the future.
Spencer Lang said trying to keep up with his older brother, who outpaced most of Colorado for four years, keeps him striving for improvement and prevents him from relaxing. He'd like to at least tie Harrison's two state titles but as much as others may compare and contrast the two brothers, the Lang brothers see themselves as different players and they like it that way.
As Harrison Lang moves on, Spencer Lang will move forward and continue to forge his own Niwot legacy.
They'll no longer be living under the same roof before long. But Spencer, who also hopes to play Division-I tennis, will continue to use his brother as a valuable resource as he gets closer to recruiting age.
"I'm looking forward to it because he can tell me all about it and show me the ropes," Spencer Lang said. "With all the experiences he'll have, hopefully I can go into it with a little bit of knowledge. He goes through it first, like all things, and then I can get a glimpse of what it's like before I go through it."
Spencer Lang had a similar experience to his brother's disheartening junior season defeat, losing in the No. 2 singles finals this season after winning the No. 3 singles title in 2011. After witnessing Harrison's rebounding response to falling short of his goals, Spencer Lang said he intends to return stronger the way his older brother did.
Since the state tournament, Spencer Lang has already improved. He won the 16-under division at the ITA Great Pumpkin Sectional Championships last week in Nevada.
"Losing is definitely a motivating thing," Spencer Lang said. "After state I worked pretty hard."
Even with a talented lineup led by Harrison Lang, the Cougars have finished second to Cheyenne Mountain three years in a row.
The Cougars lost BoCoPreps.com Player of the Year Michael Ogez after the 2011 season and Harrison Lang, this year's BoCoPreps.com Player of the Year, after the 2012 season. Despite the vaunted singles ladder steadily diminishing, Spencer Lang said the Cougars will continue to reload and rebuild the way they always do.
"There are other schools who are losing some players, too," Spencer Lang said. "If we work hard we can be a contender again.We just need to work hard on becoming a team."
Harrison Lang has accumulated four years of prep tennis knowledge. Now, he'll take that knowledge and apply it to the next level.
And while he does, Harrison Lang will watch as Spencer Lang applies the lessons he has imparted over the next two years.
"My whole time at Niwot was really good. Actually, I was debating whether to play high school tennis or not because I thought it might get in the way of my national tournament," Harrison Lang said. "But after the four years have gone by, it's been such a good decision for me.
"It would be awesome to come down for state to see Spencer."
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