DENVER — They expected to win a state title and positioned themselves with a chance to do just that on the final day of Colorado's Class 5A state championships but Fairview's Beck Chrisbens and Brody Pinto just couldn't get that final victory to wrap it all up.
At Gates Tennis Center on Saturday, Chrisbens and Pinto fell 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 1 doubles championship match to Emilio Gonzalez-Cruz and Evan Nuss of the team champion Regis Jesuit Raiders. A sophomore, Pinto will have several more chances at a state title but being that Chrisbens is a senior, losing the final match after coming with a few sets of a state title stung a bit more.
Still, it was an outstanding season for both of the Knights' top doubles players.
"I thought it went really well and we hit our stride at the end," Chrisbens said. "We had a pretty good run. We both improved as the season went on and we had our ups and downs but, overall, we had a good season. We always expect to win because we prepare to win but those guys are tough. Personally, I'm just more upset that it's my senior year and it's over than us losing that last match."
Also finishing runners-up, Fairview's No. 3 doubles pair of Ryan Grayson and Adam Heilbronner fell 6-3, 6-4 in the finals to Denver East's Jack Abbey and Barry Dechtman. The Knights' other players that reached the final day, Hall Humphrey and Reid Shaffer lost 6-4, 5-7, 6-1 to Regis Jesuit's Grigor Karakelyan and Phillip Albright in the No. 3 singles third-place match despite coming from behind in the second set to force a third.
Entering the tournament as the defending champions, the Knights finished third in the team scoring competition with 29 points. Regis Jesuit won the team title with 76 points and Cherry Creek was second with 65.
It was the first time since 2015 that Fairview did not have at least one ladder spot win a championship. But though head coach Chad Tsuda said it was fitting that senior leaders like Humphrey, Chrisbens and Shaffer were several of the final Knights on the courts Saturday, those three are the Knights' lone 2018 seniors and that paints a promising picture for the team's future.
"I think this tournament was just a good growing experience for a younger team," Tsuda said. "Many of the outcomes of our matches weren't what we truly wanted but finishing the season with our three seniors out there on the courts late into today was a great reminder of how they've led all year by playing one match at a time. We have a lot of sophomores and juniors and they got a lot of great experience for the future."
One junior that was happy with his performance at this year's state tournament despite coming up short of a state title was Broomfield's Austin Kattenhorn.
Making his first-ever appearance at the state tournament, Kattenhorn opened the three-day affair with three straight wins at No. 2 singles that included a pair of three-set thrillers. Among the surprise performances of the tournament, Kattenhorn reached the championship match and eventually fell 6-0, 6-1 to Regis Jesuit's Kosta Garger.
"Oh man, it went better than I could have possibly imagined," Kattenhorn said. "The final didn't go as well as I wanted but just the fact that I was in the final was enough for me. It was a surreal experience just to be there and to have my team supporting me all the way through the tournament. It was amazing."
Also for Broomfield, Jack and Charlie Vanderberg took home fourth place at No. 1 doubles. The Eagles duo fell 6-3, 6-0 to Cherry Creek's Devin Brownstein and Will Hoist in the third-place match.
In the finals team scores, Broomfield was sixth, Monarch was 11th and Boulder was 12th.
Colorado Class 5A boys tennis championships
At Gates Tennis Center
Team scores — Regis Jesuit 76, Cherry Creek 65, Fairview 29, Denver East 28, Arapahoe 25, Broomfield 21, Fossil Ridge 18, Chatfield 17, Grand Junction 13, Valor Christian 11, Monarch 7, Boulder 4, Mountain Vista 4, Heritage 3, Highlands Ranch 2, Poudre 1, Rocky Mountain 1, Lakewood 1, Rock Canyon 1.
Singles — 1. Holmes, Chatfield, def. Schilling, Regis Jesuit, 7-5, 7-5; 2. Garger, Regis Jesuit, def. Kattenhorn, Broomfield, 6-0, 6-1; 3. Kaczmarczyk, Regis Jesuit, def. Hill, Cherry Creek, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.
Doubles — 1. Gonzales/Cruz/Nuss, Regis Jesuit, def. Chrisbens/Pinto, Fairview, 6-1, 6-2; 2. Marocchi/Batmunkh, Cherry Creek, def. Franks/Weaver, Denver East, 6-1, 6-1; 3. Abbey/Dechtman, Denver East, def. Grayson/Heilbronner, Fairview, 6-3, 6-4; 4. Elliott/Shelby, Fossil Ridge, def. Tolva/Carbone, Regis Jesuit, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6.
Singles — 1. Landen, Arapahoe, def. Cavo, Cherry Creek, 6-3, 6-3; 2. Svichar, Cherry Creek, def. Hegstrom, Grand Junction, 6-4, 6-3; 3. Solimene, Valor Christian, def. Wood, Arapahoe, 6-2, 6-3.
Doubles — 1. Brownstein/Hoist, Cherry Creek, def. Vanderberg/Vanderberg, Broomfield, 6-3, 6-0; 2. Karakelyan/Albright, Regis Jesuit, def. Humphrey/Shaffer, Fairview, 6-4, 5-7, 6-1; 3. Kirkby/Morrey, Fossil Ridge, def. Flora/Mayer, Cherry Creek, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2; 4. Loehr/Bryant, Cherry Creek, def. Wolfe/Heimel, Denver East, 7-5, 6-7, 6-3.