NIWOT -- After securing the 2010 Class 4A state championship in No. 1 singles as a sophomore, Niwot's Harrison Lang was humbled in his quest to repeat, knocked off in the final by Kent Denver freshman David Mitchell a year ago.
Needless to say, revenge was a motivating factor throughout Lang's senior campaign.
The upperclassman stormed through the regular season, winning all 15 of his matches before getting another shot at Mitchell in the finals. This time the Cougars star would not falter, defeating his foe 6-4, 6-2 at Pueblo City Park on Oct. 13 and capping off his high school career with a second ring.
For the redeeming performance, Lang has been named the BoCoPreps.com Boys Tennis Player of the Year.
"My junior year was a good year, but going into my senior year I knew I had some things to work on over the course of the season," Lang said. "I kind of knew I would play the same kid, David Mitchell, in the final, so it kind of culminated with that moment."
While making a third straight trip to the finals was no doubt Lang's mission for 2012, it was not a huge topic of discussion between himself and head coach Miikka Keronen. Although the end goal might not have been verbalized, there was clearly a mutual acknowledgement that Lang would need to put in his time in order to reclaim the top spot in the state.
"You can't talk about it, you just have to do the work," Keronen said. "Obviously that was the goal, but you just have to put in work and that's what he did. He was more motivated, he matured a little bit and he just played a perfect match in the final."
With his senior season in the books, Lang will now begin to prepare himself for upcoming national tournaments in Arizona and Nevada. He recently decided that next year he will be taking his talents to Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. Lang chose the Blue Jays over the Air Force Academy and UC-Davis, and his signing of a letter of intent will complete a life-long dream of playing collegiate tennis.
"It was actually the last school I visited," Lang said of Creighton. "Division-I tennis was my goal, so I'm happy I'll be doing that, but also I'm going for the academics. They have a really good Pre-Med program, which is what I want to study, so I think it's a really good fit for me overall."
While the Cougars will surely miss their departing star, they shouldn't be too hard-pressed to fill the hole he leaves at the No. 1 slot. Brother Spencer Lang took second place at No. 2 singles as a sophomore this year and will likely occupy his older brother's spot next season for Niwot, which finished 2012 as the Class 4A team runner-up for the third straight year.