LAFAYETTE — Brett Finan liked his chances when he made the trek south to Pueblo for the Class 4A state tournament.
One year after a runner-up finish, Finan was not about to be denied again.
"I approached it as I had to win or I would be let down if I didn't win," said Finan, who rolled past Kent Denver's Jack Moldenhauer 6-3, 6-3 at City Park to claim the No. 1 singles title. "In past years, I knew there was a lot of good players and I would be happy with coming in second or third; but this year I knew I would only be happy if I won."
For his victory and magnificent year, Finan is the 2017 BoCoPreps.com Player of the Year.
"It's definitely one of the coolest things I've done with my tennis career," he said. "I think for the rest of my life I will look back on it, and no matter how big or how small I may think it is now, I'll look back on it and know what I did."
And what a banner fall season for all of the Peak to Peak athletic programs, that have crowned state champions in boys golf (Davis Long) and girls cross country (Quinn McConnell) as well as team championships in both sports.
As for the response around the halls at the Lafayette charter school ... "I think people are just kind of used to it. They know we have good runners, a good golf team and tennis team. People are proud for sure, but they are also used to it."
Finan's big serve and blistering forehand paid huge dividends in the opening rounds of the state tournament, where he dispatched both of his opponents in straight sets, dropping just nine games.
It was a little different in the semifinals — a round where he went a lengthy three sets last season — against Colorado Academy's Richter Jordaan. He won the first set rather easily, but dropped the second before grinding out a 6-4 third set to punch his ticket to the finals.
"As the state tournament went on, I was beginning to feel more and more confident that I was going to win," he said.
Pumas coach Eric Farran was able to single out one approach — focus — to Finan's game that took him over the top.
"We talked about playing every point and not having any loose points and not giving away any gifts; so whether that is return of serve of double faults," Farran said. "Really stressing keeping pressure on his opponents and not letting them off the mat.
"There were occasions, maybe in the semifinals where he would play a loose point or two, but then he was able to right the ship."
Finan, who is already drawing interest from the next level and would like to continue playing in college, will be back for his senior season to defend his title against a 4A No. 1 singles draw that had nine underclassmen.