Boulder Daily Camera
DENVER — With a full team competing in the Class 5A state tennis tournament, the Fairview Knights were looking to get on a roll and emerge as one of the strongest teams in the tournament at the Gates Tennis Center.
Through the first round Fairview looked the part, winning six of seven first-round matches to keep them on pace with Cherry Creek, Regis Jesuit and other powerhouses in Class 5A.
Things would not go as planned in the quarterfinal round with Fairview going 2-4, resulting in its top singles player and the No. 3 doubles team becoming the lone representatives competing in the semifinal round Friday morning.
Luke Silverman in No. 1 singles and the No. 3 doubles pair of Maxim Kokoshinsky and Jake Wicks were dominant in their two matches.
“It feels really good getting the first two matches and moving on to the semifinals,” Silverman said.
Silverman opened his run with a 6-2 win in the first set over Sam Knape of Poudre. He shut him out in the second set 6-0 to move to the quarterfinal round. Another 6-0 set started the next match with Braeden Thomas of Heritage as he hit big serves and hard returns that landed in play and frustrated his opponent.
“I was stepping forward trying to hit the ball early and getting him to run around on the court,” Silverman said.
The second set with Thomas started close, but when Silverman scored to take a 4-2 lead his opponent withdrew from the match due to a lingering shoulder injury he was dealing with coming into the tournament.
Similar dominance was found from Kokoshinsky and Wicks in their run in No. 3 doubles. The two began the day with a pair of sets won 6-1 over Lakewood in the first round. They would win a third set in a row 6-1 and then shut out the team from Rock Canyon 6-0 in the final set to complete their two sweeps.
While hitting a number of big shots and keeping opposing hitters off balanced, it was the mental side of the game they felt lifted them through the first two rounds.
“I think the mindset is the most important part out of all of it,” Kokoshinsky said. “If you stay in and trust your strokes, you’re fine. We have to trust whatever we have and leave it all out on the court tomorrow.”
The rest of the team in the quarterfinal round would come up short in their matches. Ryan Grayson and Brody Pinto lost a tiebreaker in the third set to Valor Christian in one of the closest matches in the entire round. Losing in straight sets were Kiam Grimison in No. 3 singles, Zak Chehadi and Clayton Baldwin in No. 2 doubles and Owen Hushka and Andrew Yonan in No. 4 doubles. Adam Heilbronner lost in straight sets in his first round match with Matthew Batmunkh of Cherry Creek.
Silverman, Kokoshinsky and Wicks will each return to play in two semifinal matches Friday morning at 9 a.m. and look to build off their run in the first two rounds Thursday.
“You have to trust your swing,” Wicks said. “If you doubt yourself, you’re not going to do well.”
Conde, Smith win in opening round for Monarch
Michael Conde of Monarch returned to the state meet for his senior season, but this time he entered with more confidence following a regional title win.
“I’m trying to have a calmer mentality,” Conde said. “I’m trying not to take it too seriously and playing more relaxed. Last year I was stressing out a bit too much and it was making me play tight and nervous.”
A more loose, controlled Conde was on full display in his first round match with David Augustine of Fort Collins. He was in control from the first serve to the final point as he won 6-1, 6-0 in No. 1 singles play.
The day would end with a loss in the quarterfinal round to Morgan Schiling of Regis Jesuit 6-3, 6-2, but Conde will be one of many athletes looking for redemption in the playback bracket that will take place on Friday.
“It’s my senior year, so I’m trying to have fun for the last time and play well,” Conde said. “I need to stay a little more focused in the match and make sure I don’t step off my game plan and keep applying pressure.”
Conde saw his singles teammate Conner Smith also win in the first round in No. 2 singles over Saurav Behera of Cherokee Trail 7-5, 6-1. He would also fall in the quarterfinal round 6-2, 6-3 to Chase Walters of Heritage. Jack Reuter lost to Wesley Leach of Denver East in the first round of No. 3 singles 6-2, 6-4 and the No. 3 doubles pair of Callum Cuningham and Thomas Pierce also fell to Denver East in the first round 6-1, 6-2.
Broomfield and Boulder would compete in one bracket and each lost in the first round. Charlie Vanderberg of Broomfield lost in straight sets to Brady Elliott of Fossil Ridge in No. 2 singles and Boulder saw Alex Ferayorni and Andrew Schreiner lost to Ralston Valley 6-2, 6-2 in No. 4 doubles.
Playback matches in the consolation bracket will get underway Friday at the conclusion of the semifinal matches.