PLAYERS TO KNOW

Neil Wilcox, So., Niwot: He reached the 4A No. 1 singles state quarterfinals as a freshman before bowing out to Discovery Canyon's Nick Lorenz, a three-time state qualifier in No. 1 singles. With a little more experience, the Niwot ace could climb deeper into the postseason bracket this time around.

Carter Holbrook, Sr., Dawson School: Another potential name to look out for on Day 2 or 3 of the state tournament. Last year, Holbrook reached the state quarterfinals in No. 2 singles.

Beck Chrisbens, Sr., Fairview: A little more than a week before the fall season, Chrisbens said he didn't know if he'd prefer to stay in doubles or move up to singles. The senior would like to win a title in No. 1 doubles after he and Luke Silverman finished third last year. On the other hand, the Knights may need him to move up after losing all three of their singles players from last year.

Riley Black, Sr., Niwot: Black reached the No. 2 singles semifinals in last year's state tournament. If Black sticks in that No. 2 role, he could be destined to push deep into the tournament this year.

Manas Sani, Sr., Niwot: All three of last year's singles group returns for the Cougars. Sani reached the quarterfinals in the No. 3 singles state bracket.

Mason Lewis, Sr., Broomfield: Lewis reached the 5A state quarterfinals in No. 3 singles last year. Now, there's a chance he'll have to move up after the Eagles lost last year's No. 2 player Giovanni Intermesoli.


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Calvin Seamons, Sr., Longmont: With the talented additions of Brenden Ardnt and Henry Matheson, Seamons could be a major threat wherever he ends up. Seamons made the state tournament in No. 2 singles last year and could make more noise wherever he ends up playing this year.

Luke Silverman, So., Fairview: Silverman played No. 1 doubles alongside Chrisbens last season as a freshman. Silverman could very well get his feet wet in singles play as the Knights begin their quest to repeat.

Monarch’s Michael Conde.
Monarch's Michael Conde. (Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer)

Michael Conde, Jr., Monarch: His sophomore season came oh-so close to a state berth. He and his other two singles teammates just missed the cut, finishing third at a regional that included eventual-champ Fairview. Redemption anyone?

Ben Bicknell, Jr., Niwot: Going to put the entire Niwot roster here? It's hard not to. Bicknell is a transfer who reached the No. 2 singles quarterfinals at the 4A state tournament. He's added depth to a team that is spilling over with talent.

Nick Jordan, Sr., Boulder: The Panthers need to replace all three singles players and the up-and-coming Jordan could very well help fill the void. Jordan reached the state quarterfinals in No. 2 doubles last season.

Nash Phillips, Jr., Erie: For the first time in program history, Erie sent players to the state tournament, and Phillips was a part of it. The Erie junior will help lead a team hungry to make more history.

Brett Finan, Sr., Peak to Peak: Early this week, the 2017 BoCoPreps.com Player of the Year was still undecided if he'd return to high school competition after winning the Class 4A singles title last year. Finan was marvelous over his junior campaign, dominating throughout the year and slashing through the state tournament before ending with a two-set win over Kent Denver's Jack Moldenhauer in the finals. He nor Peak to Peak coach Eric Carlson have put a timetable on when they expect to have a decision.

POSTSEASON INFORMATION

5A Regionals -- Regional placement will be determined by league finish. The Class 5A Front Range League -- which includes area schools in Boulder, Broomfield, Fairview, Legacy and Monarch - is eligible to have two teams host a region. Regional dates are to be determined.

4A Region 4 - Local teams: Dawson School, Silver Creek. Date/Location: TBD at Greeley Central.

4A Region 5 — Local teams: Centaurus, Erie, Frederick, Longmont, Niwot, Peak to Peak, Prospect Ridge, Skyline. Date/location: TBD at Niwot.

5A state tournament — Oct. 11-13 at Gates Tennis Center in Denver.

4A state tournament — Oct. 11-13 at Pueblo City Park.

Mason Lewis of Broomfield.
Mason Lewis of Broomfield. (Brad Cochi / Staff Photographer)

TEAM-BY-TEAM OUTLOOK

BOULDER PANTHERS

Coach: Doug Kazarosian (fourth year)

Last year: Tied for fourth at the Class 5A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Nick Jordan (Sr.); Charlie Esson (Sr.); Wyatt Stack (So.); Calvin Caldwell (Sr.).

Outlook: Another top-five finish at the state tournament would be a monumental feat for Panthers, who are rolling out a relatively new lineup this season. Boulder graduated all three of last year's singles players but do return four state-experienced doubles players.

BROOMFIELD EAGLES

Coach: Jim Vogel (second year)

Last year: Won regionals; tied for fourth at the Class 5A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Mason Lewis (Sr.); Jack Vanderberg (Sr.); Cameron Lupo (So.); Charlie Vanderberg (Jr.); Will Darkey (Sr.); Henry Kuhna (Sr.).

Others to watch: Austin Kattenhorn (Jr.); Collin Dunn (Sr.); Ethan Wagner (Sr.).

Outlook: The Eagles are looking to build off their strong state performance from last season, returning their No. 1 and 3 singles players in Kattenhorn and Lewis. They won't have the service of one-year-wonder Giovanni Intermesoli, a foreign-exchange student from Italy. Coach Vogel believes he has a strong cast of returning doubles players who are ready to slide into a singles spot.

CENTAURUS WARRIORS

Coach: Julie Daniel (seventh year)

Last year: Sixth at regionals.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Simon Kitnick (Sr.); Liam Travis (Sr.); AJ Apodoca (Jr.); Evan Penczek (Sr.); Palmer Dick-Montez (Sr.).

Outlook: A strong senior class should help the Warriors take another step forward - at least that's the hope of Daniel. The Centaurus coach said she believes the veteran class is transforming her squad into a "more competitive force." She added: "We are a team full of players excited to improve their tennis. Last season, we had several strong regional performances and just missed having players qualify for state." Many players, she went on to note, worked on their games over the summer with Alan and Chad Tsuda at Rich's Tennis School.

DAWSON MUSTANGS

Coach: Kathryn Benninghoff (12th year)

Last year: Regional champions; 5th at 4A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Carter Holbrook (Sr.); Sam Troughton (Sr.); Ryan Oliver (Sr.); Phil Geraghty (Jr.).

Others to watch: Luke Orris (So.); Coby Grant-Krenz (Jr.).

Outlook: The Mustangs lose a few standouts from last year's strong showing at the state tournament, including No. 1 singles player Riley Burridge. No. 2 singles player Carter Holbrook is back, though, headlining four returning state qualifiers for Dawson. Benninghoff said the Mustangs will look to "absorb the loss of talented and experienced players" and "we'll lean hard on the top spots and best doubles teams." She added: "At the same time, we're keen to develop our new players and welcome their contributions to a consistently strong team."

ERIE TIGERS

Coach: Eric Farran (first year)

Last year: Fourth at regionals.

Returning state qualifiers: Nash Phillips (Jr.); Derek Sorenson (Jr.); Trevor Winterton (So.).

Outlook: The Tigers sent players to the state tournament for the first time in program history under coach Doug Simkins. Moving from Peak to Peak is Farran, who takes over the team in 2018. He said his hope is to build on last year's success while continuing to grow the sport popularity at Erie. "It will be fun," he said.

FAIRVIEW KNIGHTS

Coach: Chad Tsuda (11th year)

Last year: League champion, regional champion and won the state tournament for the first time in program history.

Returning state qualifiers: Luke Silverman (So.); Beck Chrisbens (Sr.); Hall Humphrey (Sr.); Ryan Grayson (Jr.); Kian Grimison (Jr.); Reid Shaffer (Sr.); Adam Heilbronner (Jr.)

Others to watch: Rodrigo Lopez-Abadia (So.); Zak Chehadi (So.); Brody Pinto (So.); Dillon Dickenson-Tooman (So.).

Outlook: The Knights will look to defend their crown, but to do so they'll have to replace all three singles players from a year ago. Good news for them: They have plenty of depth. Silverman and Chrisbens, who took third on the No. 1 doubles team last year, are two of the names that could fill a singles role. Tsuda said he believes there are others who could compete for one of the open spots as well.

FREDERICK WARRIORS

Coach: Mark Allen (fifth year)

Last year: Fourth in league

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Thomas Lucas (Jr.); Jonah Wasden (Jr.).

Outlook: A year after losing seven seniors, the fifth-year program at Frederick lost a few more from last season and will only have two seniors on the team this year. Allen, however, said he is excited about the team's young talent. "We had a lot of freshmen with loads of potential come to summer open courts," Allen said. "The future is bright."

LEGACY LIGHTNING

Coach: Louis Monarez (first year)

Last year: Ninth in league and fourth at regionals.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Zach Nuckols (Jr.); Jackson Oechsle (So.)

Outlook: Monarez replaces longtime coach Alan Goodman as the team's head coach. Speaking on the new hire, Legacy athletic director Brendon Feddema said Monarez "brought on a solid coaching staff, and they look to bring the Legacy Lightning to the top of the Front Range standings."

LONGMONT TROJANS

Coach: Mike Merz (ninth year)

Last year: Third at regionals and did not place at 4A state.

Returning state qualifiers: Calvin Seamons, (Sr.); Jimmy McConahy (So.); Cory Byrne (So.).

Others to watch: Brenden Arndt (Sr.); Henry Matheson (Fr.); Danny O'Brien (So.); Clayton D'Epagnier (Jr.)

Outlook: The Trojans have only two seniors on roster, but Merz believes his team will be stronger than a year ago. Arndt and Matheson are expected to be the team's top two players, while players like Seamons, McConahy and Byrne should bring state experience to some of the other spots.

MONARCH COYOTES

Coach: Ryan Berman (first year)

Last year: Fourth in regionals.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Michael Conde (Jr.); Quinn McNamara (Sr.); Noah Messman, (Sr.);

Outlook: Ryan Berman takes over the program after former coach Duke Paluch resigned in the spring. The Coyotes coach inherits a team that won six of their 10 duals a year ago and placed fourth in regionals. Of note, all three singles players from last year - Conde, McNamara and Messman - finished third in regionals, just missing the cut to qualify for the state tournament.

NIWOT COUGARS

Coach: Miikka Keronen (15th year)

Last year: Regional champions and took fourth at 4A state.

Returning state qualifiers: Neil Wilcox (So.); Riley Black (Sr.); Manas Sani (Sr.); Sam Keronen (So.); Riley Mulshine (Sr.); Sam Bickham (Sr.); Xavier Moy (So.); Jon Lee (Sr.); Anton Lavrouk (Jr.).

Others to watch: Ben Bicknell (Jr.); Ivan Calderon (So).

Outlook: The Cougars return nine state qualifiers as they once again set their eyes on winning a state title. "That's always the goal for us," coach Keronen said. Niwot has finished inside the top four at the 4A state tournament the last nine years but is still in search of its first crown on the boys' side. "Our girls won last year, so we'd like to have our boys' team kind of follow that," Keronen said.

PEAK TO PEAK PUMAS

Coach: Eric Carlson (first year)

Last year: Sixth at the 4A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Brett Finan (Sr).

Others to watch: Bryan Coates (Sr.); Jack Good (Fr.)

Outlook: Less than a week before the start of the season, Eric Carlson stepped in as the head boys' tennis coach. He follows the departure of Eric Farran, who accepted the same position at Erie. Carlson said he is unsure if the Pumas will get the services of Finan, who was Class 4A No. 1 singles champ last year.

PROSPECT RIDGE MINERS

Coach: Ari Finkelstein (third year)

Last year: Seventh in regionals.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Antoine Billat (Jr.); Jake Stetson (Jr.); Khoa Le (Sr.); Tanner Brown (Sr.); Telis Demos (sr.).

Outlook: The Miners are in their third season as a varsity program and are shooting to qualify players to the state tournament for the first time in their short history. "With seniors representing nearly half the team we should have strong leadership and prove more competitive in both tournaments and dual matches," Finkelstein said.

SILVER CREEK RAPTORS

Coach: Sara Whiteley (first year)

Last year: Third at regionals and 14th at 4A state

Returning state qualifiers: Zach Shepherd (Jr.).

Outlook: Whiteley returns to coaching after taking a nine-year break. She inherits Zach Shepherd, who was a state qualifier in No. 1 doubles last season.

SKYLINE FALCONS

Coach: Phil Astras (third year)

Last year: Sixth at regionals

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Brandon Hayes (Jr.); Bryce Stewart (Sr.).

Outlook: The Falcons knew last year would be a rebuilding year. Now, they're ready to take the next step forward. "We're a young team that lost only one player from last year's squad, and (we) are looking to build on that experience," Astras said. "We've had a good summer of practice and are looking to make some progress from last year."

Brent W. New: , bwnew@prairiemountainmedia.com, tweet @brentwnew