LONGMONT — For years, Niwot's Matthew Chavez has never been able to solve the mystery that is Peak to Peak's No. 1 singles player Brett Finan.
Chavez and Finan had squared off on the tennis court five times before. Each time, Finan won. Chavez never even won a set.
But on the final day of the the Class 4A Region 5 tournament on Friday, Chavez found a way to flip the script. Defeating Finan, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the No. 1 singles finals, the Niwot senior won the regional championship and claimed the top state tournament berth out of the region.
"I went in with a different mentality," Chavez said. "I put aside the results of the previous matches and how he's beaten me the last five times. I decided this would be a different match and that I was going to win."
As a freshman, Chavez won a regional title at No. 2 doubles. His sophomore year, he won at one doubles. Last year, Chavez placed second at two singles.
In his first season playing No. 1 singles, Chavez said his goal is to finish at least in the top four at state. Friday's breakthrough victory at Quail Campus Tennis Courts will certainly help.
"The first set, I just tried to hit the ball too hard and go for winners," Chavez said. "That's why I lost. After that, I just tried to grind with him and once he started to miss more than I did, I was able to get the win. It feels really good knowing that I'll get a good draw at state."
Chavez's title helped set the stage for the Cougars to sweep all the championship matches. For a team that routinely places in the top five at state, qualifying its entire lineup is a regular occurrence for Niwot. But winning all seven championship matches to claim the regional team title with a perfect score was something else.
"I knew that a lot of them were going to be tough," Niwot head coach Miikka Keronen said. "We played great at one and two and everybody else pretty much dominated so it was great. It's been a while since we won every final at regionals. We usually take the whole lineup to state but we don't regularly do that."
At the end of the weather-delayed Region 5 tournament, Peak to Peak qualified for state at three of its ladder spots. Longmont and Skyline each qualified two ladder spots for state.
The 4A state tournament will be played Oct. 13-15 at Pueblo City Park.
4A Region 5 Tournament
At Longmont Recreation Center
Team scores — Niwot 77, Peak to Peak 41, Longmont 34, Centaurus 23, Skyline 18, Erie 12, Prospect Ridge 4, Frederick 3.
Singles — 1. Matthew Chavez, Niwot, def. Brett Finan, Peak to Peak, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1; 2. Caden Kammerer, Niwot, def. Teo Cariov, Peak to Peak, 6-3, 6-3; 3. Riley Black, Niwot, def. Peter Nieuwlandt, Skyline, 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles — 1. Peter Graham/Manas Saini, Niwot, def. Kaden Randolp/Conner Fryberger, Longmont, 6-0, 6-0; 2. Riley Mulshine/Cruz Culpepper, Niwot, def. Austin Dereksen/Dallas Dye, Longmont, 6-0, 6-3; 3. Sam Bickam/Andrew Thomas, Niwot, def. Bryce Stewart/Declan Morrow, Skyline, 6-3, 6-2; 4. Patrick Xiao/Adin Heinreitv, Niwot, def. Dimitri Gourgouris/Grant Lancaster, Peak to Peak, 6-4, 6-1.