• MARK LEFFINGWELL

    Boulder's Jackson Hawk, seen here in action at the 2012 state tournament, will be one of the key players for the Panthers this year.

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10 PLAYERS TO KNOW

Ignatius Castelino, Jr., Fairview: Last year’s runner-up at No. 2 singles makes the jump to No. 1, and if the summer is any sign of things to come, it could be a big year.

Josh Eafanti, Sr., Broomfield: Remains in the top spot for the Eagles and will try and cap off his final season with a trip to Pueblo.

Jake Fell, Jr., Longmont: A return trip to the state tournament is in the cards for the Trojans’ No. 1.

Jason Ferry, Sr., Monarch: Could be the No. 1 player and leader for the Coyotes, who graduated a majority of their team.

Alan Fu, So., Niwot: An impressive freshman campaign resulted in a fourth-place finish at No. 3 singles. There shouldn’t be a sophomore slump here.

Keller Hartline, Jr., Centaurus: New coach Julie Daniel was excited by Hartline’s passion for improvement over the summer and desire to get better. Will be a bright spot for the Warriors.

Jackson Hawk, So., Boulder: Finished fourth last season at No. 2 singles for the Panthers and is among a wealth of talent for first-year coach Adrian Games.

Spencer Lang, Jr., Niwot: Younger brother of last year’s 4A No. 1 singles champion Harrison Lang will look to keep the title under the same roof.

Alec Leddon, So., Fairview: Like his teammate Castelino, Leddon — who finished runner-up at No. 3 singles last season — will jump up a position to No. 2, giving the Knights a good 1-2 punch at the top.

Dave and Mike Rosencrans, Sr., Legacy: The Lightning duo finished third at state last season after transferring in to become the program’s first state-placers. The duo is eager to improve on that finish in 2013.

POSTSEASON INFORMATION

5A Regionals — Will be determined by order of finish in league play. (Note: Fairview, by virtue of its second place finish at state last season, will host Region 2.)

4A Region 1Local team: Alexander Dawson. Date/Location: TBA at Colorado Academy.

4A Region 2Local team: Peak to Peak. Date/Location: TBA at Kent Denver.

4A Region 4Local team: Niwot. Date/Location: TBA at Greeley Central.

4A Region 5Local teams: Broomfield, Centaurus, Erie, Longmont, Silver Creek, Skyline. Date/Location: TBA at Broomfield.

Class 5A state tournament — Oct. 10-12 at Gates Tennis Center (Denver).

Class 4A state tournament — Oct. 10-12 at City Park (Pueblo).

TEAM-BY-TEAM PREVIEWS

 

ALEXANDER DAWSON MUSTANGS

Coach: Kathy Benninghoff (8th year).

Last year: 10th-place at 4A state championships.

Returning state qualifiers: Azur Ali, (Jr.); Jackson Kegel, (So.); Jake Blank, (Jr.); Zach Rinard, (Jr.).

Others to watch: Alex Emmons, (Sr.), Aidan Knowles (Jr.).

Outlook: The Mustangs have always been competitive and usually have competitive singles play. That should again be the case this year, and if the doubles teams step up, Benninghoff believes the Mustangs have a pretty promising outlook.

 

BOULDER PANTHERS

Coach: Adrian Games (1st year).

Last year: 12th-place at 5A state championships.

Returning state qualifiers: Ethan Anderson, (Sr.); Dan Cleveland, (Sr.); Conner Dawson, (Jr.); Jackson Feld, (Sr.); Cutter Esson, (So.); Jackson Hawk, (So.); Aiden Mulligan, (Jr.); Scott Neville, (Jr.); Cole Smith, (So.).

Others to watch: Arie VanVuuren, (So.).

Outlook: It was a rather inauspicious start for Games before the Panthers even got going. He lost two promising players before practice even started — one to the football team and the other to the state of Florida. Never fail, the Panthers have plenty of depth and have always found a way to be competitive. Keep and eye on Jackson Hawk, who finished fourth at No. 2 singles last season.

 

BROOMFIELD EAGLES

Coach: Doug Kazarosian (4th year).

Last year: 2nd at regionals.

Returning state qualifiers: Adam Clark, (Sr.); Christian Lewis, (Jr.); Ben Stevens, (Jr.).

Others to watch: Josh Eafanti, (Sr.).

Outlook: The Eagles showed well at regionals and then were unable to capitalize at state. But Kazarosian is pleased with some newfound depth. “I’ve been coaching these kids for four or five years and I like the depth we have,” he said. “We are not as rickety at the top or bottom. We have a thick foundation.”

 

CENTAURUS WARRIORS

Coach: Julie Daniel (1st year).

Last year: 5th at regionals.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Hampus Akeeson, (Jr.); Keller Hartline, (Jr.); Kyle Schutter, (Jr.); Hunter Solheim, (Sr.).

Outlook: The Warriors are junior-heavy and have always kind of been a middle-of-the-pack team. The goal for Daniel, who has been with the program for five years, is to get some kids to state. They have laid a groundwork for freshmen players that come in with little or no experience and consistently turn out quality players by the time they graduate.

 

ERIE TIGERS

Coach: Beth Cerrone (2nd year).

Last year: 11th-place at regionals.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Gage Dean (Jr.), Zach Elsden (Sr.), Christian Kaiser (Jr.).

Outlook: There is nowhere to go but up for the Tigers. Cerrone, who provides some stability at head coach for the first time in the program’s history, is optimistic with her whole roster back from last season. The Tigers have had excellent participation over the summer, but will have to make do playing at Frederick after a storm did severe damage to their home courts.

 

FAIRVIEW KNIGHTS

Coach: Chad Tsuda (7th year).

Last year: Class 5A state runner-up.

Returning state qualifiers: Ignatius Castelino, (Jr., runner-up at No. 2 singles); Brock DeHaven, (Sr., runner-up at No. 1 doubles in 2011); Alec Leddon, (So., runner-up at No. 3 singles); Tommy Mason, (Jr., No. 1 doubles champ); Max Petrak, (So., runner-up at No. 4 doubles); Andrew Pollack, (Jr., 3rd at No. 2 doubles); Kamran Shabaz, (Jr., runner-up at No. 4 doubles).

Others to watch: Randall Ball (Sr.); Roger Nichols (Sr.); Boone Whiteside (Sr.).

Outlook: “Our biggest goal is to get everyone to state,” Tsuda said. The Knights are loaded with talent and experience and should again be in the mix to add another trophy to the school’s case. The Knights have proven they can play well when it counts at state and should be in the mix for a state title with Cherry Creek again.

 

LEGACY LIGHTNING

Coach: Alan Godman (7th year).

Last year: 11th-place in 5A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Dave Rosencrans, (Sr., 3rd at No. 1 doubles); Mike Rosencrans, (Sr., 3rd at No. 1 doubles).

Others to watch: Sam Karlson, (Jr.); Shad Karlson, (Sr.); Adrik Kling, (Jr.); Kaden Kling, (Sr.); Austin Martinez, (Sr.); Kevin Rivera, (Jr.); Austin Sack, (Sr.).

Outlook: The Lightning are looking for an upperclassmen-dominated team — led by the Rosencrans twins — to make up for the loss of seven seniors from last year’s team. If an experienced team can come together quickly, Godman feels like his team can make some noise. “Every year, there is always a surprise or two,” Godman said.

 

LONGMONT TROJANS

Coach: Mike Merz and Greg Rodriquez.

Last year: Third-place at regionals.

Returning state qualifiers: Jake Fell, (Jr., No. 1 singles), Erik Schulze, (Sr., No. 2 singles).

Others to watch: Cameron Yee, (Sr., No. 3 singles).

Outlook: The Trojans are still rebuilding from losing 16 players two years ago. They are a bit inexperienced but should be very competitive in the singles positions and in the top doubles spots. Look for Longmont to be in the mix.

 

MONARCH COYOTES

Coach: Christopher Turner (1st year).

Last year: Tied for 14th at state last year.

Returning state qualifiers: Chad Brown, (Sr.); Jason Ferry, (Sr.); Jason Nguyen, (Jr.); Derek Wright, (Jr.)

Others to watch: Jack Ferry, (Fr.).

Outlook: The Coyotes graduated all three singles players from a year ago and half of their double players. It goes without saying, Turner and Co. will have to rebuild on the fly, but thankfully they have an savvy group of players that are ready to step right in and keep the team playing at a high level. “It might take a little time, but these guys are ready to step into these roles,” Turner said.

 

NIWOT COUGARS

Coach: Miikka Keronen (8th year).

Last year: Regional champs and runner-up at 4A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Colling Forke, (Sr.); Alan Fu, (So., 4th at No. 3 singles); Trevor Jones, (Sr., 4th at No. 2 doubles); Spencer Lang, (Jr., runner-up at No. 2 singles); Drew Pasma, (Sr., runner-up at No. 1 doubles); Carter Pentz, (Jr., runner-up at No. 1 doubles); Sadvik Saini, (Sr.).

Others to watch: Matthew Chavez, (Fr.).

Outlook: The Cougars are good. Shocker, right? Keronen’s team is always tough up top in singles and this year will be no different with Spencer Lang looking to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Harrison, who won the No. 1 singles title in Pueblo last year. With depth abounding, Niwot should be right back in the mix of state title contenders.

 

PEAK TO PEAK PUMAS

Coach: Billy Downs (2nd year).

Last year: 4th at regionals in first year as a program.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Others to watch: Nick Finan, (So.); Andre Maginot, (Jr.); Zhan Su, (So.); Michael Voecks, (Jr.).

Outlook: It was a promising start for the Pumas in their first year of varsity play in 2012. They only lost two players and are still a very young team. Advancing some positions to state is not out of the question, as they were close last year with some of their lower doubles teams.

 

SILVER CREEK RAPTORS

Coach: Kelly Burns (5th year).

Last year: Regional champs and finished tied for 10th at 4A state tournament.

Returning state qualifiers: Jake Nielson, (So.); Amulya Srivastava, (Sr.).

Others to watch: Dylan Griffin, (Jr.); Kyle Kofford, (Sr.); Jacob Stringer, (Fr.).

Outlook: Burns’ team can be summed up by the recent hit by the band Fun. “We are young!,” he said. While the numbers are there, Burns has 13 freshmen on the roster. The intrigue of the ninth-graders is there, but he also understands it may take some time to gel at the high school level. The goal is to obviously be at their best when the regional and state tournaments roll around.

 

SKYLINE FALCONS

Coach: Jeff Teebken (2nd year).

Last year: 5th at regionals.

Returning state qualifiers: None.

Other to watch: Connor Hayes, (Sr.); Sawyer Hayes, (Sr.); Cameron Bopp, (Sr.); Gehrig White, (Sr.).

Outlook: The Falcons have a chance to send some experienced senior kids to state. The Hayes twins have traded playing the top spot the last few seasons and challenge matches will determine who is there this time around. Teebken, whose team plays Niwot on Thursday to open the season, is also encouraged by a strong group of incoming freshmen.

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