BROOMFIELD -- When Silver Creek tennis started the season, Kelly Burns was not 100-percent certain of his team's potential. On a blustery Thursday morning the Raptors more than demonstrated to their coach exactly what they were capable of achieving.
While it took some gritty and nervy decisions to get through the Regional 5 brackets, the hard-fought tennis was more than worth Silver Creek's effort. The team that entered the season with some questions walked out of its state qualifier at the Broomfield Swim and Tennis Club a regional champion.
"I'm thrilled beyond recognition," Burns said.
The title did not come easy, with it coming down to a race between the Raptors and Broomfield. Only a few points separated Silver Creek and Broomfield after Wednesday's opening rounds. To add a little more drama, the Raptors had to face the Eagles in four championship matches.
"I think it was 56-52 (Broomfield) after the first day," said Burns, who had eight players qualify for state. "I knew we'd have to clean sweep them... and we got them, it was outstanding."
The coach's exuberance came at a price as his team had some tight finishes with Broomfield. The one shocking Burns and the rest of the Raptors came at No. 1 doubles. Tommy Heidebrecht said, he and his partner, Carlos Landn Fernándea, had only dropped three sets before playing the Eagles. But Jake Sigmond and Ethan Reed forced the Raptors to fight back to a 2-6, 6-8, 6-2 victory.
"We started scared, because the match before also went to three sets," Fernándea said. "But we played aggressive after that."
Heidebrecht admitted that a clean straight-sets win would have been ideal. But he saw value in he and his partner being tested before they head to Class 4A state on Oct. 13-15 in Pueblo.
"It was a bit of a wake-up call we can't take anything for granted," Heidebrecht said. "It's our last chance. I'm a senior and (Carlos) heads back to Spain after this season."
Despite getting edged from a regional title defense, Broomfield had little to complain about, Doug Kazarosian said. The Eagles coach had five of seven positions move on to state, two of which finished the day regional champions.
"I would say the competition has gotten a lot better here," he said. "So, I'm very proud of my guys. We did well."
Each of the Eagles' champions made it to the top in dominant fashion. Adam Clark won the No. 2 singles title beating Longmont's Erik Schulze for a third time this season. But the Broomfield junior had to fight through the pain of tendinitis to earn his 6-2, 6-2 victory.
"My adrenaline kind of got me through the pain," he said.
Broomfield also has a couple hotshots in doubles. Ben Stevens and Will McShane produced next-to-perfect play at No. 3 doubles, not dropping a game in their title match against Wheat Ridge.
"We just broke them each time, didn't give up and kept digging," Stevens said.
Silver Creek stole the show, but was not the only Longmont team to leave a mark on the tournament.
Skyline qualified its first players in a number of seasons behind a gritty performance of Zaleon Dinh and Huan Nguyen. The No.2 doubles partners earned their spots in a 7-5, 6-3 win in a playback match against Broomfield's Ryan Jennett and Tanner Lewis.
Longmont also earned two berths to the 4A tournament with returning qualifiers finding their way to Pueblo at No. 1 and 2 singles. The Trojans' No. 2 singles player Erik Schulze had to settle for a second seed, falling in his match against Broomfield. But Fell finished Thursday a regional champion and in dominant fashion, winning against Silver Creek's Noah Grolnick for a third time this season.
"Winning a regional title really builds my confidence for state," said Fell, who won 6-1, 6-3. "Now I know I can beat other players and I can be a top player."
Follow Elwood on Twitter: @ElwoodKShelton.
Class 4A Region 5 tennis
At Broomfield Swim and Tennis Club
Team Scores -- Silver Creek 66, Broomfield 64, Longmont 39, Skyline 22, Centaurus 22, Wheat Ridge 14, Erie 0, Weld Central 0.
Singles -- 1. Jake Fell, Longmont, def. Noah Grolnick, Silver Creek, 6-1, 6-3; 2. Adam Clark, Broomfield, def. Erik Schulze, Longmont, 6-2, 6-2; 3. Nathan Lazarus, Silver Creek, def. Brandon Hull, Broomfield, 6-4, 6-2.
Doubles -- 1. Carlos Landn Fernández/Tommy Heidebrecht, Silver Creek, def. Jake Sigmond/Ethan Reed, Broomfield, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2; 2. Zaelen Charles/Amuly Srivastava, Silver Creek, def. Ryan Jennett/Tanner Lewis, Broomfield, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4; 3. Ben Stevens/Will McShane, Broomfield, def. Davis Ford/Joey Doke, Wheat Ridge, 6-0, 6-0; 4. Brian Grubb/Jake Nelson, Silver Creek, def. Matt Schmidt/Christian Lewis, Broomfield, 6-0, 6-1.
Singles -- 1. Matt Hurst, Centaurus, def. Josh Eafanti, Broomfield, 6-2, 6-1; 2. Dylan Griffin, Silver Creek, def. Connor Hayes, Skyline, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4; 3. Cameron Eye, Longmont, def. Schuyler Facker, Skyline, 6-2, 6-3.
Doubles -- 1. Isaiah Moreno/Hampus Akesson, Centaurus, def. Ben Orr/ Adam Wolford, Longmont, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0; 2. Zaleon Dinh/Huan Nguyn, Skyline def. Caleb Christen/A.J. Sehm, Wheat Ridge, 7-5, 6-3; 3. Jared Hockman/Kyle Schutter, Centaurus, def. Cameron Bopp/Brandon Davis, Skyline, 6-3, 6-0; 4. David Koo/Gehrig White, Skyline, def. Dillan Gissel/Michael Torrez, Longmont, 6-2, 6-4.
Singles -- 1. Noah Grolnick, Silver Creek, def. Matt Hurst, Centaurus, 6-1, 6-2; 2.
Doubles -- 1. Jake Sigmond/Ethan Reed, Broomfield, def. Isaiah Moreno/Hampus Akesson, Centaurus, 6-1, 6-3; 2. Zaleon Dinh/Huan Nguyen, Skyline, def. Ryan Jennett/Tanner Lewis, Broomfield, 7-5, 6-3; 4. Matt Schmidt/Christian Lewis, Broomfield, def. David Koo/Gehrig White, Skyline, 6-2, 6-4.