DENVER — As Fairview athletic director Terrin Kelly took in the scene Saturday afternoon at Gates Tennis Center, he turned to principal Don Stensrud and mentioned they were going to have to do some rearranging in the school's trophy case.
That's because for the first time in school history, the Fairview Knights are state tennis champions. And in a sport dominated by Cherry Creek since the 1970's, edging out the Bruins — and Regis Jesuit — in one of the best team chases in years has to feel extra special.
"This is about the guys. Everyone from top to bottom came ready to compete today and as a coach, that is all you could ever ask," said Fairview coach Chad Tsuda, who had a firm grasp on the championship hardware as he exited Gates Tennis Center Saturday afternoon.
"Credit goes to the singles guys for how hard they have worked over the four years to get where they got and to be here right now. But truly this year was all about our doubles."
And those inexperienced doubles teams matured at the right time, figured things out and all four positions placed on Saturday. The Knights got key victories in the third place matches from the Beck Chrisbens and Luke Silverman at No. 1, Ryan Grayson and Kian Grimson at No. 3 and Reid Shaffer and Adam Heilbronner at No. 4 that added six points to their score.
"They trusted the process even though they had their ups and downs during the season," Tsuda said. "And it all came together here.
It was a bittersweet day for the Knights No. 1 singles star Tom Melville. The Fairview senior was up a set and 3-2 in the second — a mere three games away from an individual title against Chatfield's Christian Holmes — before the wheels came off.
Holmes won 10 of the next 11 games, closing out the second set and eventually cruising 6-1 in the decisive third to capture the title — the first of its kind in Jefferson County since Wheat Ridge's Bryan Knepper in 1996.
"He played well and I can't really do much about it. I was battling, he battled better," said Melville, whose closed out the first set with a serve that caught his opponent in the face. "I felt confident (going to the second) and I had my opportunities, I just couldn't make the most of them."
But was the sting of losing an individual title quelled a little bit by winning a team title?
"Definitely," Melville said with a smile.
At No. 2 singles, senior Ethan Schacht made quick work of Regis Jesuit's Kosta Garger, dispatching him in straight sets 6-3, 7-5.
It was a great bounce back for Schacht, who placed fourth a year ago.
"It was a combination of both mental and physical attributes. As a senior, I've matured a lot and in these high pressure situations, I'm able to perform much better," Schacht said. "I've been working on my game a lot and thanks goes out to coach Chad and all the other coaches as well."
Also quick to win his title at No. 3 singles was junior Andy Wu. Facing a familiar opponent in Cherry Creek's George Cavo, Wu rolled to a 6-0, 6-2 victory.
"It gave me confidence going in, but know that since this is a state tournament and there is so much pressure, anything can happen," Wu said. "I just had to stay focused and not worry about what had happened before."
In other third-place match results, Boulder's Henry Hawk won at No. 3 singles, taking down regis' Phillip Albright in three sets.
Broomfield, which took home the Sportsmanship Award, got a fourth place finish from Giovanni Intermosoli at No. 2 singles and third place finish from the No. 2 doubles team of Cameron Lupo and Charlie Vanderberg. They took out Fairview 7-6 (4), 6-2.
CLASS 5A STATE TENNIS TOURNAMENT
At Gates Tennis Center
Team scores — Fairview 73, Cherry Creek 68, Regis Jesuit 65, Broomfield 22, Boulder 22, Chatfield 18, Ponderosa 14, Denver East 10, Mountain Range 9, Fossil Ridge 6, Grand Junction 4, Mountain Vista 4, Arapahoe 3, Rocky Mountain 3, Rock Canyon 2, Heritage 2, Ralston Valley 1, Fruita Monument 1, Grandview 1, Poudre 1.
No. 1 singles — Christian Holmes, Chatfield def. Tom Melville, Fairview, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
No. 2 singles — Ethan Schacht, Fairview def. Kosta Garger, Regis Jesuit, 6-3, 7-5.
No. 3 singles — Andy Wu, Fairview def. George Cavo, Cherry Creek, 6-0, 6-2.
No. 1 doubles — Will Dennen/Patrick Seby, Regis Jesuit def. Sam Angell/Drew Hill, Cherry Creek, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
No. 2 doubles — Evan Nuss/Emilio Gonzalez-Cruz, Regis Jesuit def. Stone Heyman/Nick Eidler, Cherry Creek, 6-4, 6-1.
No. 3 doubles — Zach Smith/Nick Svichar, Cherry Creek def. Matthew McCarthy/Gabe Caldwell-Nepveux, 6-1, 7-6 (5).
No. 4 doubles — Tyler Schoen/Devin Brownstein, Cherry Creek def. Matthew Mahoney/James O'Connor, Regis Jesuit, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-0.
No. 1 singles — Ryan Neale, Ponderosa def. Javier Valenzuela, Mountain Range, 6-2, 6-1.
No. 2 singles — Ben Murray, Cherry Creek def. Giovanni Intermosoli, Broomfield, 6-3, 6-0.
No. 3 singles — Henry Hawk, Boulder def. Phillip Albright, Regis Jesuit, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
No. 1 doubles — Beck Chrisbens/Luke Silverman, Fairview def. Will Enterline/Hans Callahan, Boulder, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
No. 2 doubles — Cameron Lupo/Charlie Vanderberg, Broomfield def. Aaron Nguyen/Hall Humphrey, Fairview, 7-6 (4), 6-2.
No. 3 doubles — Ryan Grayson/Kian Grimson, Fairview def. Jack Abbey/Jacob Frosch, Denevr East, 6-3, 6-3.
No. 4 doubles — Reid Shaffer/Adam Heilbronner, Fairview def. Nathaniel Lim/Calvin Caldwell, Boulder, 6-0, 6-4.