Niwot High School tennis player Sam ...
Daily Camera file photo
Niwot’s Sam Keronon

Team outlook

Class 5A
Boulder Panthers
Coach: Nick Salazar
The Scorecard: Qualifying for state at each position is all a coach can really ask for heading into the state tennis tournament. And despite no listed dual wins on MaxPreps in 2019, that’s exactly what the second-year coach is aiming for the Panthers to do. Salazar will return varsity players Nate Spillman, Danny Benjamin, Ezra Doherty, Josh Donahue, Ty Chandler and Wyatt Stack. Others to watch, he noted, include Jackson Lewis, Chase Lewis, Agi Willis and Will Curl. “COVID-(19) is teaching us to overcome adversity and my boys are doing a great job with that,” Salazar said.

Broomfield Eagles
Coach: John Trask
The Scorecard: The Eagles are rebuilding, but it looks promising. With only two returning varsity players — senior Cameron Lupo and junior Cameron MacLennan — the Eagles go forward with inexperience and with a new coach in Trask. A few new faces to look out for will be Kai Trujillo, a freshman who is likely to play No. 2 singles behind Lupo. Sophomore Gunnar Christianson and brothers Cameron and Colin Carlson should be interesting to keep an eye out for as well. “With such a young team and so many new varsity players it is definitely a rebuilding year for us,” Trask said. “However, I still feel we will be able to compete well in every match, especially in singles and No. 1 doubles.”

Fairview High School's Luke Silverman in ...
Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer
Fairview’s Luke Silverman

Fairview Knights
Coach: Chad Tsuda
The Scorecard: Led by ace Luke Silverman, Fairview finished fourth at the state tournament and won yet another Front Range League title. This fall — at least tennis-wise — looks promising, too. Silverman is back after an outstanding junior campaign, finishing runner-up in 5A No. 1 singles. Adding to the strong core of returning players for Tsuda includes seniors Brody Pinto, Clayton Baldwin, Zak Chehadi, Owen Hushka and Andrew Yonan. Junior Jake Wicks, meanwhile, also returns after helping the No. 3 doubles team to a second-place finish at state last fall. “We are led by a strong group of seniors and are all happy to be back on court,” Tsuda said.

Legacy Lightning
Coach: Sanh Nguyen
The Scorecard: After two years with Louis Monarez in charge — where the program combined to go 9-11 in dual matches — Nguyen takes over the program. Returning varsity players include seniors Nathan George, Evan Butler and Sean George; junior Robert Payne; and sophomore Alex Anthony, who was the team’s No. 1 player a season ago. As for newbies, look out for freshman David Tran, who could be the next rising star for the program. Last year, Legacy went 5-5 in dual matches, 5-3 inside the Front Range League.

Monarch Coyotes
Coach: Ryan Berman
The Scorecard: Junior Conner Smith leads the Coyotes into the fall, moving from the No. 2 position to 1. Last year, Smith won his first-round match at the state tournament before bowing out. Rounding out the singles players in 2020 for Monarch will be senior Jack Reuter, who qualified for state at No. 3 in 2019, as well as up-and-comer Luke Jenson. Overall, Berman said the ‘Yotes return five varsity players, but will also have four freshmen in the top line as well. After taking 11th as a team at state, Berman said he hopes the majority of the team can qualify again. “Improvement is key,” he said.

Class 4A

Centaurus Warriors
Coach: Julie Daniel
The Scorecard: Daniel’s program continues to build momentum heading into this fall as all the returning varsity players have improved over the offseason, she said. Returning for the top line includes senior players Quinn Lew, Luke Nickerson, Assaf Boneh and Eli Thayer; juniors Carter Hunter-Crump and Seth Jenkins; and sophomore Ty Stroud. Others to watch include a pair of promising freshmen in Joey Hultgren and Declan Payne, as well as junior Cole Spradlin and senior Sutton Clower. “Our program focuses on developing the student-athlete, with the emphasis on the student,” Daniel said. “The same skills that help our players be successful in the classroom are integrated into their coachability and problem solving in match play.”

Daily Camera file photo
Dawson School’s Kevin Patel

Dawson School Mustangs
Coach: Kathy Benninghoff
The Scorecard: The Mustangs, who won their fourth straight regional title in 2019, per Benninghoff, have five state qualifiers returning this fall. Among returnees are senior Luke Orris; junior Kevin Patel, who was the team’s No. 2 singles player last year; and sophomores Tyler Burridge, Ashtin Gilio, Alfie Whitemore, Ryan Orris and Owen Leidich. Others to watch include junior Ian McLeod and freshman Wilson Miller. Assessing her team, Benninghoff said Dawson is “strong in the singles positions and quick and athletic in the doubles lines.” The Mustangs finished seventh at the 4A state meet last fall.

Erie Tigers
Coach: Eric Farran
The Scorecard: In year three for Farran at Erie, the Tigers will have a strong junior class, and “many multiple-sport athletes playing tennis for the first time,” he said. The evolving program includes returning varsity players in ace Aidan Lyle, Gabe Mendoza, Trent Bowers, Sam Stem, Davyn Walker and Leif Antelmi. Among other things, interesting here is the development of Lyle, the team’s top player a season ago. Another thing to watch for is how the Tigers as a whole will respond after graduating other singles players Joe Vennard and Derek Sorenson, as well as the No. 1 doubles pairing of Nash Phillips and Myles Meskers.

Frederick Warriors
Coach: Mark Allen
The Scorecard: The Warriors lost seven seniors from last year and have a large batch of new varsity players this fall, Allen said. “The good news,” he said, “is the returning players knew this and have worked hard over the past year to get better and be prepared.” Among returning players are senior Levi Gockley, junior Tanner Bolin, junior Quinn McNeill and senior Pruitt Hubenett. Others to watch will be sophomores Rylan Cram and Jake Morris. “We are looking to make some noise in our new league and regionals,” Allen added. We are “young but talented and shouldn’t be taken lightly. I am excited to see how the boys step up this season in their new roles.”

Longmont Trojans
Coach: Michael Merz
The Scorecard: The Trojans may be a sleeping power in Class 4A, led by a talented singles group that includes junior ace Henry Matheson, senior Danny O’Brien and junior Thomas Marshall. Last year, Matheson and O’Brien both reached the quarterfinals, and this year they could be in the mix for top three at state. Marshall, meanwhile, could be a “dark horse” in singles, Merz said. Overall, the 10th-year coach said the team’s goal will be to win regionals and place inside the top five at the state tournament. As will help from returning varsity players Jimmy McConahy, Abenezer Keefer, Oliver Seamons, Jack O’Brien and Max Hall.

Mead Mavericks
Coach: Ben Holskin
The Scorecard: With so few sports going, Mead put together a boys tennis program last minute this fall to give students more athletic opportunity. On Aug. 8, Mead athletics posted on Twitter that it was considering putting together a program. Then fast forward to Thursday, it tweeted out a video of practice. The Mavericks will play in 4A Region 5 with Niwot, Centaurus, Erie, Frederick, Longmont, Peak to Peak, Prospect Ridge, Silver Creek, Skyline and Standley Lake.

Niwot Cougars
Coach: Miikka Keronen
The Scorecard: Neil Wilcox won the 4A No. 1 singles title — and as early as a few weeks after the season, his coach predicted him to do the same in 2020. Niwot should also make a play at a team title, too. Other returning varsity players include senior Sam Keronen, the No. 2 singles player in 2019; as well as fellow-senior Ivan Calderon, who was 1-doubles. Also returning is the team’s 2019 No. 2 doubles pair of Xavier Moy and Luke Weber; No. 3 doubles player Maia Heather; and the 4-doubles of Reeves Moor and Alan Wilcox. If that wasn’t enough, the coach said to look out for freshman LiChen Liao and junior Raaghav Argwal.

Peak to Peak Pumas
Coach: Eric Carlson
The Scorecard: Peak to Peak won three of its last four duals but didn’t qualify anybody for the state meet for a second straight season. That’s the tough reality of being in the same region as power Niwot. Even so, the Pumas have some nice talent back on roster in 2020. Junior Jack Good leads the returners from last fall, where he played singles. Senior Andrew Asper is also back after leading the top doubles team, as are Ethan Harris, Kevin Ember, Bill Chang and Sartaj Singh.

Prospect Ridge Academy Miners
Coach: Ari Finkelstein
The Scorecard: Sophomore Roee Sela leads a talented cast of returning varsity players for the Miners. Last year’s No. 2 player, Sela now takes the lead role in 2020. He’s joined by returning varsity players in seniors Ryan Tran, Connor Beezley. Jordan Thommes and Sam Wade; as well as sophomores Ethan Tran, Blake Nguyen, Jackson Billings and Peyton Streu. Said Finkelstein: “We are still building the team after a lot of seniors graduated last year and the year before, but with a number of returning varsity players — especially a strong sophomore class — we hope to pull off a winning season here at PRA.” The coach added that the program is also hoping to qualify the first player in program history to the state tournament.

Silver Creek Raptors
Coach: Sara Whiteley
The Scorecard: Whiteley said it’s a rebuilding year for the Raptors. From 2019, they lost a strong senior core from a team that was one of only four area programs to score at the 4A state tournament. “We have a good core of returning players that I am counting on to lead the younger players in what it takes both on and off the court to be successful in our sport,” Whiteley said. Returning varsity players include junior Luke Graboski, junior Nicholas Golovanov, senior William Van Vuuren, senior Roberto Esteban and junior Jaden Reenan. Others to watch include senior Dario McCormick and sophomore Nate Hansen. “Goal is to always improve both on the court as players, in the classroom as students, and in life as good friends and strong leaders,” Whiteley said.

Skyline Falcons
Coach: Tom Galey
The Scorecard: A slick hire for Skyline. Galey, who grew up in Boulder, has a background in both Colorado juniors and Division-I players, he said. Now taking his turn at the high school level, he’ll acquire a strong player in James Wongsudin, who went to state in No. 3 singles last year. Galey said, and quoted his players as saying the goal is to win conference. Among other leaders will be senior and top doubles specialist Austin Scott as well as captain Drake Doran. Other seniors noted are Steven Bayon, Toby Roberts, Jesus Najera-Franco and Matt Chrisman. Rising star Evan Elmendorf, a sophomore, should also challenge singles players for top spots on the team, the coach said.

Point me to the postseason
Just a month to go. Regionals in tennis are scheduled to start no earlier than Sept. 16 and will be completed by the 19th.
5A Regionals — Regional placement will be determined by league finish. The top two teams in the 5A Front Range League — which includes area schools in Boulder, Broomfield, Fairview, Legacy and Monarch — will host.
4A Region 4 — Local teams: Dawson. Date/location: TBD. Greeley Central hosts.
4A Region 5 — Local teams: Niwot, Centaurus, Erie, Frederick, Longmont, Mead, Peak to Peak, Prospect Ridge, Silver Creek and Skyline. Time/Location: TBD. Niwot hosts.
5A state tournament — Sept. 25-26 at Gates Tennis Center in Denver.
4A state tournament — Sept. 25-26 at Pueblo City Park.

Bringing it home: recent state champions
2019 — Team: Regis Jesuit (5A) and Cheyenne Mountain (4A); Individual No. 1 singles: Morgan Schilling, Regis Jesuit and Neil Wilcox, Niwot (4A).
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).