The Dawson School boys tennis team began the 2018 season knowing that it had graduated a lot of firepower from last fall's ladder, a lineup that placed fifth at the Class 4A state tournament.

As it turns out, the Mustangs' cupboard was far less barren than it seemed.

When the 4A state tournament begins Thursday at Pueblo City Park, the Mustangs will enter the fray with a full lineup once again and will be looking to compete for state titles at all seven roster spots. With that in mind, even 12-year head coach Kathryn Benninghoff has allowed herself to expect a bit more from the Mustangs on the eve of the big dance.

"Given the fact that we won our region for the third year in a row, I'm particularly satisfied with this year's win because we didn't start the season with as much experience that we've had in years past," Benninghoff said. "We have some experience but we also have some young guys that haven't played a lot of competitive tennis. We've exceeded expectations in a good way and I'm wide open in terms of what I think we can accomplish at state."

The Mustangs have placed in the top 10 in each of the past 4A state tournaments, largely as a result of a consistent depth of talent. This year is a bit different, as the Mustangs feature a No. 1 singles player entering the 16-man state bracket among the eight top seeds. That player is senior Carter Holbrook, who won the Region 4 title this season and finished top five in the state at No. 2 singles last season.


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"Carter is such a great competitor," Benninghoff said. "I've had really good teams but I haven't had a number one guy win the region and come in as a number one seed. He's such a thoughtful, clever, versatile player. He's got power but he doesn't rely on it. I just think the world of him and he's in a great spot."

One major obstacle for the Mustangs will be the Niwot Cougars, who won the Region 5 tournament and will also bring a full lineup to the state tournament. In Class 5A, defending state champion Fairview also will be sending a full lineup to the 5A state tournament at Gates Tennis Center in Denver. After finishing fourth in the 5A team standings a year ago, Broomfield qualified four of its seven ladder spots for this year's state tournament. The Boulder Panthers will be sending a full seven-man squad to the state tournament.

CLASS 5A

No. 1 singles - Luke Silverman, Fairview, vs. Andrew Seehausen, Highlands Ranch; Ryan McCoy, Boulder, vs. Louie Salfi, Denver East; Michael Conde, Monarch, vs. George Cavo, Cherry Creek.

No. 2 singles - Alex McCoy, Boulder, vs. Jared Green, Arapahoe; Austin Kattenhorn, Broomfield, vs. Kyle Ma, Pine Creek; Quinn McNamara, Monarch, vs. Kosta Garger, Regis Jesuit; Kian Grimison, Fairview, vs. Will Jones, Heritage.

No. 3 singles - Nick Jordan, Boulder, vs. Brandon Miller, Fruita Monument; Cameron Lupo, Broomfield, vs. Rodrigo Lopez-Abadia, Fairview.

No. 1 doubles - Noah Messman/Alex Messman, Monarch, vs. Truman Osburn/Ben Findlow, Valor Christian; Jack Vanderberg/Charlie Vanderberg, Broomfield, vs. Collin Bean/McClain Easton, Mountain Vista; Charlie Esson/Wyatt Stack, Boulder, vs. Wesley Leach/Jacob Frosch, Denver East; Beck Chrisbens/Brody Pinto, Fairview, vs. Cooper Axe/Wesley Thompson, Rocky Mountain.

No. 2 doubles - Will Darkey/Henry Kuhna, Broomfield, vs. Cooper Sayers/Luke Beukelman, Valor Christian; Hall Humphrey/Reid Shaffer, Fairview, vs. Calvin Caldwell/Louis Jaeckle, Boulder.

No. 3 doubles - Ryan Grayson/Adam Hailbronner, Fairview, vs. Jacob Boomgarden/Nate O'Rear, Highlands Ranch; David Wait/Cosmo Mitchell, Monarch, vs. Jack Bossert/Carson Bennett, Boulder.

No. 4 doubles - Cooper Hanley/Conner Smith, Monarch, vs. Josh Campbell/Connor Gordon, Ralston Valley; Maxim Kokoshinsky/Clayton Baldwin, Fairview, vs. Taegen Crow/Eric Kearns, Fort Collins; Alex Sutherland/Ty Chandler, Boulder, vs. Carter Olson/Robert Pearson, Rock Canyon.

CLASS 4A

No. 1 singles - Carter Holbrook, Dawson, vs. Reilly Fredell, Coronado; Brenden Arndt, Longmont, vs. Nick Lorenz, Discovery Canyon; Neil Wilcox, Niwot, vs. Kenny Orive, Alameda.

No. 2 singles - Reilly Black, Niwot, vs. Troy Rindone, Vail Mountain; Phil Geraghty, Dawson, vs. Austin Kemmet, Pueblo West; Henry Matheson, Longmont, vs. Paul Jones, Cheyenne Mountain.

No. 3 singles - Ben Bicknell, Niwot, vs. Jackson Shaeffer, Coronado; Ryan Oliver, Dawson, vs. Alex Mosher, Aspen; Christian Hirano, Silver Creek, vs. Danny O'Brien, Longmont.

No. 1 doubles - Calvin Seamons/Clayton D'Epagnier, Longmont, vs. Grant Leap/Robbie Metz, Cheyenne Mountain; Sam Troughton/Luke Orris, Dawson, vs. Noah Enoch/Grayson Graham, Coronado; Michael Van Vuuren/William Van Vuuren, Silver Creek; Sam Keronen/Manas Saini, Niwot, vs. Jackson Zimmerman/Bryce Miller, Palmer Ridge.

No. 2 doubles - Liam Keeley/Coby Grant-Krenz, Dawson, vs. Evan Kettelapper/Palmer Dick-Montez, Centaurus; Anton Lavrouk/Riley Mulshine, Niwot, vs. Ryan Dawsey/Matthew Gay, Vail Mountain.

No. 3 doubles - Oliver Seamons/Connor Corcoran, Longmont, vs. Bennett Liu/Zachary Brinker, Colorado Academy; Kevin Patel/Sean Geraghty, Dawson, vs. Sam Glaser/Nevo Gross, Littleton; Sam Bickham/Ivan Calderon, Niwot, vs. Max Heller/Jesse Rubald, Denver North; Alex Amparan/Robert Esteban, Silver Creek, vs. Bryant Jones/Trevor Niccoli, Pueblo Centennial.

No. 4 doubles - Phil Belous/Nick Golovanov, Silver Creek, vs. Ryan Gaghen/Will Miller, Colorado Academy; Jimmy Mconahy/Cory Byrne, Longmont, vs. Jackson Wells/Henry Johnson, Kent Denver; Xavier Moy/Jon Lee, Niwot, vs. Nicholas Phams/Ian Lewis, Coronado; Logan Opie/Ethan Duster, Dawson, vs. Mason Gustafson/Clint Gersabeck, D'Evelyn.

Brad Cochi: cochib@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BradCochi