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Longmont's No. 1 singles player Jake Fell is aiming for a deep run this weekend at the Class 4A state tournament.
Matthew Jonas
Longmont’s No. 1 singles player Jake Fell is aiming for a deep run this weekend at the Class 4A state tournament.

Cameron Yee will believe it when he sees it.

The Longmont High School athlete has been told by tennis teammate Jake Fell that Fell is going to try out for baseball this spring, hopefully getting some pointers from one of the Trojans’ many productive hitters.

“That’s what he keeps telling me,” Yee said. “We’ll see.”

For now, Fell is only a tennis player throughout the year. And he’s obviously pretty good, having qualified for state at No. 1 singles for the second straight season. With the Class 4A state championships at Pueblo City Park starting Thursday, the junior is eager to be back in the field of 16.

And, what’s best is he’s got friends like Yee (No. 3 singles), Erik Schulze (No. 2 singles) and Matt Biller and Dillan Gissel (No. 2 doubles) joining him for the party.

“It’s sweet, and it will be a lot nicer at state,” Fell said. “More people means more support, and I think it will be more like a normal match, so it will be more relaxing.”

As the matches get tougher and the weight of competition grows, it becomes more and more difficult to keep a steady mentality.

Fell showed that moxie in last week’s regionals, defeating Keller Hartline of Centaurus in an inspired performance 7-6 (7-6), 6-4. Fell said he thinks his consistency has grown a considerable amount this year, and he has shown both power and finesse when he needed to.

“I think I’ve gotten a lot better, but definitely more consistent,” he said. “I think I’ve been able to hit more of my angles, so I’ve been feeling good.”

“Jake has really set goals for himself, like he wanted that all-conference,” coach Mike Merz said. “When he got into tight situations, it was really cool to see him just pick it up. Just a little spark comes in; it’s cool to see kids set goals for themselves and be able to utilize those in tough matches. I think he’s going to be real tough at state.”

Coolness under pressure was something of a running theme for the players who qualified, Merz said. Schulze excelled when he needed to at regionals, qualifying for the state field after beating Skyline’s Connor Hayes in a playback. Yee took first place by beating Spencer Wolff of Broomfield, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, and the No. 2 doubles team punched their ticket with a win over Silver Creek’s Jeffrey Maier and Michael Nagus in a three-set playback.

“Big composure moments,” Merz said. “We just stepped up when we needed to across the board. We kind of struggled all season, and then we knew at regionals really anything can happen.

“Our last week of tennis, I think we had five matches in seven days, and I really think that helped us. It showed them how to get prepared and mentally tough, to be ready to play every single day.”

Yee, a first time qualifier, has been taking advice and picking up some of Fell’s game over the past couple of seasons, and his regional title proved to himself how much he has developed. And to have all three singles slots represented in Pueblo was a special goal accomplished in their books.

“That’s very cool getting all three of us in. We felt like we were all pretty even this year, so we felt like we should have gotten it,” Yee said. “(Winning the regional) feels better than getting second and qualifying that way, just because you go in with more momentum for state. That’s always good.”

So, what is Fell expecting in his second trip to state at No. 1 singles?

“Definitely make it to the second day, and I just want to win a match,” Fell said, anticipating his morning matchup against Luke Lorenz, a senior out of Discovery Canyon who placed fourth last year. “I haven’t gotten past first round, so I’d really like to get that this year.”

And maybe, just to break the monotony, Fell and Yee will both have a little down time between matches to talk baseball.

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