LAFAYETTE — Brett Finan refuses to stand still and watch the field pass him by.
Instead, the Peak to Peak junior has made every effort to improve every aspect of his game with the hopes that it will culminate in a Class 4A state title come October in Pueblo.
The Pumas No. 1 singles player rallied from a regional championship loss to Niwot's Matthew Chavez last season, beat Chavez in the semifinals at state to earn a shot at a state title, before ultimately losing to Kent Denver's Casey Ross.
"I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to state and hopefully winning," said Finan, who combined with No. 2 Teo Cariov give the Pumas a nifty 1-2 punch at the top of the ladder. "I'm not super disappointed with losing last year in the finals, because Casey (now at Dartmouth) is a good player and I was happy with how I played.
"But I am certainly more motivated to win."
He was one of two underclassmen — Discovery Canyon's Nick Lorenz (who lost as a freshman in the finals in 2015 to Ross) the other — to reach last years semifinals, setting up what could be a potentially classic final this season.
The mild-mannered Finan — who was beat by Lorenz in the semifinals of the USTA Intermountain L4 Summer Masters in Boulder this past week — hasn't let the setback at Pueblo City Park bother him too much because he understands that losses happen, but he also gets that improvement is a must if he want to reach his goal ... winning it all.
"I've been playing a lot of USTA tournaments and I was training in Florida during the first month and a half of the summer," he said. "There are a lot of good players (in Florida) and learning from them is great as well as learning how to play better."
And Finan refuses to conform to the recent form of the game that has seen the top players anchor themselves to the baseline and allow their power groundstrokes to dictate the match. Instead, he is comfortable coming to net and playing a serve-and-volley game.
"I like to mix it up a lot. I do serve-and-volley when I can and when it works," said Finan, who is ranked No. 2 in Colorado and No. 3 in the Mountain Region in the latest polls put out by tennisrecruiting.net. "I like to be aggressive and have an open range of what I can do depending on who I am playing that gives me the best chance of winning."
Peak to Peak coach Eric Farran, who also coaches the Pumas girls and has had the opportunity to make deep runs with the Somasundaram twins — Trisha and Trini — at the state tournament, is confident that he will have his boys ready to go in Pueblo.
"I think a lot of it depends on their opponent and I am one that encourages bold play, especially when they are supposedly out-matched or supposedly the underdog," Farran said. "I try to encourage them to play with confidence and conviction ... and try to not put to much pressure on themselves, because it really is just another match and another day at the office."