LONGMONT — Losing a one-sided match in the Class 4A No. 1 singles state semifinals last season, then-freshman Brett Finan learned a lot about what level of preparation he'd need if he wanted to improve in 2016.
Currently flying through his sophomore season, Finan is undefeated at 8-0. On Saturday, the Peak to Peak sophomore continued his tear with a four-win first-place finish at the Longmont Invitational.
After missing the Centaurus Invitational for a wedding earlier in the season, it was Finan's first tournament simulation and he passed with flying colors. Every time he takes the court, Finan is treating each match an important step in his preparation for a potential state title run in October.
"I just played really well the whole tournament," Finan said. "My serve was working and so was my forehand. I won this tournament last year but the first few rounds were the hardest for me this year. This was the first tournament I've played this year so it was really good to win."
In the finals, Finan defeated Dawson School's Connor Larson 6-3, 6-3. He also faced tough competition is his first three matches, helping the Pumas take fifth place as a team.
"He's been playing very well," Pumas head coach Eric Farran said. "He's hitting the ball bigger on his serves and his ground strokes. He was challenged at this tournament and it just shows how hard he's worked."
With three of four doubles spots claiming titles and Carter Holbrook winning at No. 3 singles, the Dawson Mustangs won the Longmont Invitational team title. Dawson's Riley Burridge also took second at No. 2 singles, losing to Steamboat's Chase Adams, who qualified for state at No. 3 singles last season.
"It was fantastic," Dawson coach Kathryn Benninghoff said. "Our singles were thoroughly tested and I thought Connor Larson, our number one, played aggressively and the best he's ever played against Finan. Probably our most forceful win was at number three with Carter Holbrook, who maybe didn't have his A-game but was able to battle and play an outstanding match."
Longmont finished eighth in the team scoring, Centaurus was 10th and Skyline was 11th. Overall, Longmont head coach Gale Howard was impressed by the level of play at the Trojans' host tournament.
"What we really liked is that we just didn't have any issues on the court in terms of sportsmanship and misconduct, anything like that," Howard said. "The teams we invite to this tournament are all good teams and they're very nice young gentlemen and they way they play is a compliment to all the coaches who handle these kids."
At Longmont H.S.
Team scores — Dawson School 80, Steamboat 73, Ralston Valley 62, Rocky Mountain 55, Peak to Peak 45, Cherokee Trail 43, Thompson Valley 37, Longmont 34, Cherry Creek 27, Centaurus 24, Skyline 23, Conifer 12.
Singles — 1. Brett Finan, Peak to Peak, def. Connor Larson, Dawson, 6-3, 6-3; 2. Chase Adams, Steamboat, def. Riley Burridge, Dawson, 6-3, 6-7, 10-8; 3. Holbrook, Dawson, def. Nolan Connell, Steamboat, 6-2, 6-4.
Doubles — 1. Gavyn Pure/Finn Jones, Dawson, def. Steamboat, 6-0, 6-2; 2. Cade McClellan/Seth Clemente, Dawson, def. Ralston Valley, 6-2, 6-1; 3. Ben Howson/Sam Troughton, Dawson, def. Ralston Valley, 6-3, 6-3; 4. Cherry Creek def. Steamboat, 6-2, 1-6, 12-10.