Construction on the tennis courts at Fairview High School is delaying the beginning of fall practice for the Class 5A defending champions.
Rebuilding another championship contender is slated next.
Fairview broke ground last fall when it won its first team title in program history, effectively ending a six-year run of finishing second to stalwart Cherry Creek. But now, if the Knights hope to have a chance at defending the crown, they must successfully restock their entire singles group from a year ago.
"It's a tall order," Fairview coach Chad Tsuda admitted.
The Knights will look to replace two graduated seniors up top in No. 1 player Tom Melville and No. 2 Ethan Schacht. Melville finished second and Schacht claimed the title at the state tournament last October.
They will also need to fill the spot left by Andy Wu, who was just a junior when he won the No. 3 singles title last fall. Wu is expected to spend the next year in Spain playing at a tennis academy.
Left with the void, Tsuda said he is relying on his program's longstanding depth of tennis talent to refurbish themselves as a contender.
It wouldn't be the first time.
"I believe four years ago we had a singles' sweep at state where our 1, 2 and 3 singles all won state and graduated. Then, the next year's team all came in and we still got second place (as a team)," Tsuda said of his teams in 2014 and 2015. "I'm very fortunate to have such a deep team where the next three players can step up and fill those roles."
And the next singles trio will be?
Tsuda said tryouts are set to begin on Aug. 13 instead of the state's approved start date of Aug. 6 because the school's courts are being resurfaced. Optimistically, though, Knights athletic director Terrin Kelly said players may be able to get on sooner with the project apparently ahead of schedule.
Whenever the time comes, two obvious names that could be in the mix for a singles spot are senior captain Beck Chrisbens and sophomore Luke Silverman. The duo placed third at state last year on No. 1 doubles.
"We have a next man up mentality," Chrisbens said. "We always have good kids coming in and good kids going out. I think we can be just as good as we were last year, maybe even better."
Fairview is looking to become the only team outside of Cherry Creek to win back-to-back titles in Colorado's largest classification since Denver East in 1967-68.
The Bruins have won 42 team titles in the state's biggest classification since 1972.
"Cherry Creek wins it all the time," Chrisbens cracked. "If we definitely beat them this year (at state) it would be a little turning of the table."
One project at a time, though.
Brent W. New: firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet at @brentwnew