It’s not all that rare for a high school tennis player to be a multi-sport athlete, but probably more so in tennis, where club players tend to dominate and raise more trophies.
It’s even more so when that player is also the team’s ace.
In Fairview No. 1 singles player Luke Silverman’s case, the junior’s ability to play multiple sports isn’t necessarily ground-breaking by itself. The idea of playing at a high level no matter the sport has long been a staple in the community — take Longmont grad Brady Renck (baseball, basketball) or Legacy’s Halle Mackiewicz (soccer, basketball), both of whom reigned as stars from one sports season to the next.
But as the star of his tennis team, a role usually reserved for sole-focused club players, what Silverman is doing feels unique. Unlike most of the past 5A No. 1 singles winners, Silverman splits time from tennis as a burgeoning soccer defender and a utility man on the Knights’ baseball team.
“It’s definitely rare to be at such a high level in high school for all three sports,” Fairview tennis coach Chad Tsuda said. “It’s something I wish more kids would do.”
But be forewarned. It can be taxing, too.
“Last year it was kind of hard,” Silverman said. “I was supposed to go to soccer practice right after school and then play tennis afterward or long on the weekends. It was busy.”
Silverman took over the No. 1 spot as a sophomore in 2018, only a year after he made his high school debut on the No. 1 doubles team that helped the Knights win a state title.
In his opening stint as the team’s ace, he qualified for the 5A tournament while also balancing soccer. At the Gates Tennis Center, he beat Highlands Ranch senior Andrew Seehausen 6-4, 6-0 in the opening round before falling to another senior in Arapahoe’s Tyler Landen in the quarterfinals.
His coach hopes his busy star can use that experience going forward.
“Luke is a competitor,” Tsuda said. “I’m never worried about Luke and competing. I think what he needed last year was to play these top players, which he didn’t maybe get to do as much over the summer because he was traveling for soccer, traveling for baseball.”
Looking ahead, eight of the 16 2018 No. 1 singles state players have graduated, including state champ Christian Holmes of Chatfield and Boulder ace Ryan McCoy. The other eight are eligible to return, including Monarch’s four-year ace Michael Conde.
“It was kind of hard (last fall) because the year before we had a really good team and then we lost three of our best players,” Silverman said, referring to 2017 graduates Tom Melville and Ethan Schacht, and Andy Wu, who spent his senior season at a tennis academy. “So, it was tough for the first year, but I hope it’ll go better the second time through.”
After the overhaul from its state title year, Fairview qualified in all seven positions at the state tournament last fall but finished a distant third behind Cherry Creek and Regis Jesuit.
With a finishing total of 29 points — 36 behind the second-place Bruins while only getting two points from the team’s young singles line — improvement will be needed if the Knights hope to contend this season.
Along with Silverman, last year’s No. 2 player, Kian Grimison, is expected to be back. No. 3 player Rodrigo Lopez-Abadia, meanwhile, moved to Florida.
“They were young last year, and with the tougher experience they got from being young, from what I’ve seen so far they’re hungry,” Tsuda said. “They want to help the team a lot more this year.”