LONGMONT — Playing doubles last season, Silver Creek junior Noah Grolnick and partner Nick Hansen came within a few shots of qualifying for the state tournament, losing in a drawback at regionals.
That duo has split this season, with Grolnick moving up to play at No. 2 singles and Hansen teaming with Andrew Meier at the top doubles position, but the desire to make it to state has only grown since last year.
The Raptors’ 7-0 victory over Skyline on Monday, including Grolnick’s 6-1, 6-3 win against Schuyler Facker, helped the cause.
“The team set a goal to get everybody to state,” Grolnick said. “I know that I want to get there after last year. It was pretty tough not going.”
He improved to 5-2 overall this season, and he realized early in his match with Facker that he could dial back on his power and focus on placement.
“I tried to keep the ball in play, be consistent and hit it deep,” he said. “I didn’t need to use as much power as I usually would. He surged in the second set, but I just tried to hit it deep and keep after it.”
Silver Creek looks to be on track for its goal of qualifying the entire team for state after sweeping the Falcons. No. 1 singles player Ryan Carson used a strong and consistent forehand to gain the advantage over Skyline’s Connor Hayes for a 6-3, 6-4 victory.
Like Grolnick, this is Carson’s first year as a singles player, and he has had to adjust his approach a bit.
“I’m playing a lot better competition this year. I’m seeing a lot more power than I was used to at doubles,” Carson said. “Trying to adjust to that has been a challenge.”
Also at singles, Silver Creek senior Trevor Arrasmith held off Sawyer Hayes by a score of 7-5, 6-3.
After nearly taking the first set, Hayes fell off a bit in the second set but still walked away a better player. Considering he only entered competitive play last year, he has made great strides so far during his sophomore season.
“My plan was to shoot it to his backhand where he sliced it a lot and get to the net and just put it away,” Hayes said. “It was a bummer (losing the first set) but I try not to let it get me down. I just keep my head up and think positive thoughts.”
Skyline, playing the first of five matches this week, nearly picked up a victory at No. 2 doubles.
Maitreya Leeuwenburgh, who has a monster first serve, and partner Zeleon Dinh took the first set against Patrick Sullivan and Scott Baldwin before the athletic pair from Silver Creek rallied for a 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory.
Hansen and new partner Andrew Meier cruised at No. 1 doubles, beating Huan Nguyen and Brandon Davis 6-0, 6-1.
Brady Delander can be reached at email@example.com.
SILVER CREEK 7, SKYLINE 0
At Skyline H.S.
No. 1 — Ryan Carson, Silver Creek, def. Connor Hayes, 6-3, 6-4. No. 2 — Noah Grolnick, Silver Creek, def. Schuyler Facker, 6-1, 6-3. No. 3 — Trevor Arrasmith, Silver Creek, def. Sawyer Hayes, 7-5, 6-3.
No. 1 — Andrew Meier/Nick Hansen, Silver Creek, def. Huan Nguyen/Brandon Davis, 6-0, 6-1. No. 2 — Patrick Sullivan/Scott Baldwin, Silver Creek, def. Maitreya Leeuwenburgh/Zyleon Dinh, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4. No. 3 — Noah Benedict/Dylan Griffin, Silver Creek, def. Jason Irvin/Nick Angelopoulos, 6-1, 6-1. No. 4 — Ben Inman/Tommy Heidebrecht, Silver Creek, def. Will Cotter/Cameron Bopp, 6-2, 6-3.