Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com
Broomfield’s Charlie Vanderberg returns as one of the Eagles’ state-tournament experienced players.
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Team outlook
Class 5A
BOULDER PANTHERS
Coach: Nick Salazar
The Scorecard: Salazar takes over the program from Doug Kazarosian, who led the team for four years. Salazar inherits a program that finished 12th at the state tournament and also had some nice success from its three singles players, seeing all of them win a state match before bowing out. Ryan McCoy, now graduated, moved into the quarterfinals in No. 1 singles play, as did then-sophomore Alex McCoy in 2 singles and graduated-senior Nick Jordan in 3. How the Panthers will fare in 2019 will depend on how well it can fill those holes. Mainly, the one left by Ryan McCoy, who was staunch throughout his senior season with nice wins over top players like Dawson’s Carter Holbrook, Monarch’s Michael Conde and Denver East’s Louie Salfi.

BROOMFIELD EAGLES
Coach: Jim Vogel
The Scorecard: The Eagles showed nice growth inside of the 2018 season, going from a .500 team in regular-season duals to one of the top teams in the state — with tennis giants like Cherry Creek, Fairview and Niwot on the slate — and then finished second in the league tournament and sixth at the state tournament. In 2019, there will have to be more in-season growth with only three returning varsity players. Of them, Cameron Lupo qualified in No. 3 singles and Charlie Vanderberg is back after he and Jack Vanderberg finished fourth in state at No. 1 doubles. Unfortunately for Broomfield, Austin Kattenhorn, a junior making his state debut last season and who marched all the way to the No. 2 singles finals, moved to California. He finished with 13 state points, leading the Eagles to the second-best finish among area 5A teams.

FAIRVIEW KNIGHTS
Coach: Chad Tsuda
The Scorecard: A year after winning the Class 5A state title and effectively ending a six-year run of finishing second to Cherry Creek, the Knights finished third at the 2018 state tournament behind Regis Jesuit and the Bruins. The progression of team ace Luke Silverman should be something to watch for in 2019 as he managed his way into the quarterfinals last fall before dropping out. Last year, the Knights’ No. 1-3 singles all managed to qualify for the state tournament but accumulated only two of the team’s 29 points. At the No. 2 spot, Kian Grimison fell in the opening round, and at 3, Rodrigo Lopez-Abadia bowed out in the quarterfinals. Grimison is back, while Lopez-Abadia moved to Florida.

LEGACY LIGHTNING
Coach: Louis Monarez
The Scorecard: Monarez, coming into his second season at the helm of the program, said he’s excited about the talent he’ll have in 2019. Led by senior captain Will Payne, who played No. 1 doubles and No. 2 singles last year per MaxPreps, the Lightning are hoping to improve after they went 4-6 in duals and didn’t qualify a player into the state tournament. Monarez also said the team has a few promising freshmen that could compete for the top singles spots — one he listed being Alex Noelle — and they should also have a strong contingent of doubles pairings. “We kind of had a couple players that we didn’t expect at the very last minute that are going to be pretty good,” he said.

MONARCH COYOTES
Coach: Ryan Berman
The Scorecard: The Coyotes finished 9-1 in duals last season, beating everyone in league except for Fairview. They won the Greeley West Invite, won the Grand Junction regionals, took third at the Front Range League tournament and finished 11th at state with eight players qualified. What’s in store for the encore? Well, No. 1 singles player Michael Conde is back, one of six returning 2018 state qualifiers. The four-year ace will join last year’s No. 1 doubles player Alex Messman, No. 2 doubles’ Jack Reuter, No. 3 doubles’ Cosmo Mitchell and the No. 4 doubles team of Cooper Hanley and Conner Smith. Freshman newcomers Luke Jensen and Cullun Conaghan, meanwhile, will be other names to keep an eye out for the Coyotes this season. “Our team goal is to improve each match,” Berman said. “If we reach that goal, I believe we have a chance to improve on our 11th-place finish at state in 2018.”

Class 4A
CENTAURUS WARRIORS
Coach: Julie Daniel
The Scorecard: Evan Ketellapper returns after he and Palmer Dick-Montez qualified for the state tournament in No. 2 doubles. The pairing fell in the opening round to Liam Keeley and Coby Grant-Krenz of Dawson. With other nice players like Quinn Lew and Carter Hunter-Crump, however, there could be more success awaiting the Warriors in the near future. Daniel said her 2019 team is young, but likely has enough depth to provide some promising results. The team’s theme this year, she said, is “pressure is our opportunity.” The Warriors had a strong summer of work, including at a camp led by Alan and Chad Tsuda of Rich’s Tennis School. Said Daniel: “Our program works to provide all levels of player with competitive pressure experiences during the season as part of developing the improvement mindset to their tennis, a strategy which is now showing up in our increasingly competitive varsity level play.”

DAWSON MUSTANGS
Coach: Kathryn Benninghoff
The Scorecard: From a team that took ninth at the state tournament, the Mustangs return six state qualifiers including last year’s No. 2 singles player Phil Geraghty. Geraghty, now a senior and who played No. 2 doubles in 2017, played very well in the 2 singles spot last fall and could be one of the team’s top players. He’ll be joined by other guys with state experience like Luke Orris, Coby Grant-Krenz, Liam Keeley, Kevin Patel and Ethan Duster. The additions of seniors Riley Burridge and Dawson Santangelo should help as well. With all those pieces in hand, Benninghoff is confident her team can push forward — even without last year’s No. 1 singles player, Carter Holbrook, who reached the quarterfinals in his final state tournament. “The squad looks to embrace its tough schedule and build toward another regional title, followed by what it hopes is a top-five finish at state,” she said.

ERIE TIGERS
Coach: Eric Farran
The Scorecard: Eric Farran came over from Peak to Peak last season, looking to build a strong tennis culture at Erie. Year 1: A good success. The Tigers went 7-4 in duals and won five of seven inside their league. They then placed third in their region but unfortunately didn’t qualify anybody to state. Farran is confident his team will make greater strides moving forward. As part of 2019, senior Joe Vennard may become the team’s ace for a third straight season. He moved from No. 1 doubles to the top role as a sophomore, then kept the spot and improved last fall.

FREDERICK WARRIORS
Coach: Mark Allen
The Scorecard: The Warriors, although bringing back seven players from last year’s varsity squad — which is a solid number — still have some work to do if they want to improve on a 2018 season in which they finished last in league and didn’t qualify a player to state. As part of the 2019 rework, they’ll have to replace their top two players, and Allen said there will have to be team buy-in and improvement across the board to be a “winning” squad. Look for seniors Thomas Lucas and Nick Julian to be in the mix for the top spots on the varsity team. “We will work hard,” the sixth-year coach said, “and I always expect to win, so I hope that rubs off on the players.”

LONGMONT TROJANS
Coach: Mike Merz
The Scorecard: Longmont qualified for the state tournament at every position except for No. 2 doubles last season, a telling sign to what a success 2018 really was for the Trojans. This fall, there could be more good things in store. Sophomore Henry Matheson should be a strong player after he went 9-1 in No. 2 singles matches posted on MaxPreps and also qualified for state. Danny O’Brien is another player who should be in the singles mix this year after going 8-3 in duals at the No. 3 spot while moving into the quarterfinals at state. As could Clayton D’Epagnier, who was on the No. 1 doubles team that qualified. The Trojans look strong and could be in position to improve on their 17th-place finish last fall in Pueblo.

NIWOT COUGARS
Coach: Miikka Keronen
The Scorecard: The Cougars have placed inside the top three at the state tournament in nine of the past 10 seasons — the other year, 2017, they took fourth. If that doesn’t excite Niwot fans, the return of some elite players should. Neil Wilcox returns after he fell in the No. 1 singles semifinals to eventual-champ Richter Jordaan of Colorado Academy and finished third. Ben Bicknell will also likely be in the singles mix after he took second at No. 3 singles last year, falling in the finals to Colorado Academy’s Braeden Thomas. As could Sam Keronen, who took second in No. 1 doubles. Other returnees include Anton Lavrouk (second in No. 2 doubles), Ivan Calderon (fourth in 3 doubles) and Xavier Moy (second in 4 doubles). Names to look out for include Luke Webber and Hayden Stolz.

PEAK TO PEAK PUMAS
Coach: Eric Carlson
The Scorecard: The Pumas didn’t qualify anyone into the state tournament in 2018, a year removed from placing sixth on the strength of No. 1 singles champ Brett Finan. In 2019, however, Carlson should have a few nice returning pieces as he comes into his second year in control. Shaan Sharma will return after doing some good things at the No. 2 singles position. Per MaxPreps, he beat players from Prospect Ridge, Dawson, Erie and Skyline in the seven matches listed. Joining him as returnees will be Jack Good, a sophomore, who was in the No. 3 singles spot in 2018, and Andrew Asper, who played at No. 1 doubles.

PROSPECT RIDGE MINERS
Coach: Ari Finkelstein
The Scorecard: The Miners come into the season following a year in which they placed seventh in their region and didn’t qualify a player into the state tournament. And yet, there’s plenty reason for optimism for Finkelstein’s crew — especially up top with senior Antoine Billat and freshman Roee Sela. Billat was strong in the No. 1 singles role for the Miners in 2018, accumulating a winning record. Sela, meanwhile, garnered enough acclaim from middle school that he’s already seen as a top player on the program. The fourth-year coach said of the two: “With a lot of tournament experience, they should be a strong one-two punch for our team this year.”

SILVER CREEK RAPTORS
Coach: Sara Whiteley
The Scorecard: Whiteley returned to coaching after a nine-year break last fall, leading the Raptors to a strong 2018 season that saw seven state qualifiers. As part of her welcome-back party, her team took second at regionals, 16th at state and only dropped three dual matches (Monarch, Dawson and Niwot). In 2019, she’s back and so is a large group of state qualifiers. William Van Vuuren returns from No. 1 doubles, regional champs Alex Amparan and Roberto Esteban Vera are coming back from 3 doubles, and Phil Belous and Nick Golovanov will be back after spending last season in 4 doubles. Whiteley said it “should be a successful season with so many quality players returning,” adding, “even though we graduated some players last season, the strength of our underclassmen will certainly help.”

SKYLINE FALCONS
Coach: Phil Astras
The Scorecard: The Falcons finished seventh at regionals and didn’t qualify a player to the state tournament in 2018 — but there’s plenty of optimism surrounding the program. Astras said he’s excited after what he called an “incredibly successful offseason”, which included skill development and team bonding. “For the past few years we have been building the program and have a significant number of returning upperclassman,” he said. “As our experience grows, so has our competitiveness.” Monitor junior Steven Bayon and Brandon Hayes, the No. 2 and 3 singles players last year. They should bring a certain level of experience and knowledge for a program looking to push forward.

Bringing it home: recent state champions
2018 — Team: Regis Jesuit (5A) and Colorado Academy (4A); Individual No. 1 singles: Christian Holmes, Chatfield (5A) and Richter Jordaan, Colorado Academy (4A).
2017 — Team: Fairview (5A) and Kent Denver (4A); Individual No. 1 singles: Christian Holmes, Chatfield (5A) and Brett Finan, Peak to Peak (4A).
2016 — Team: Cherry Creek (5A) and Kent Denver (4A); Individual No. 1 singles: Ethan Hillis, Cherry Creek (5A) and Casey Ross, Kent Denver (4A).
2015 — Team: Cherry Creek (5A) and Kent Denver (4A); Individual No. 1 singles: Kap Smith, Boulder (5A) and Casey Ross, Kent Denver (4A).
2014 — Team: Cherry Creek (5A) and Kent Denver (4A); Individual No. 1 singles: Ignatius Castelino, Fairview (5A) and Spencer Lang, Niwot (4A).

Point me to the postseason
5A Regionals — Regional placement will be determined by league finish. 5A Front Range — which includes area schools in Boulder, Broomfield, Fairview, Legacy and Monarch — is eligible to have two teams host a region. Regional dates are to be determined.
4A Region 4 – Local teams: Dawson School, Silver Creek. Date/Location: TBD hosted by Greeley Central.
4A Region 5 — Local teams: Centaurus, Erie, Frederick, Longmont, Niwot, Peak to Peak, Prospect Ridge, Skyline. Date/location: TBD hosted by Niwot.
5A state tournament — Oct. 17-19 at Gates Tennis Center in Denver.
4A state tournament — Oct. 17-19 at Pueblo City Park.

Dan Mohrmann/For BoCoPreps.com
The Niwot tennis team poses with the runner-up trophy following the completion of the Class 4A state championship tournament in October.