Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
DENVER – For there to be winners on the second day of the Class 5A boys tennis state tournament, there also have to be players for whom the ball simply doesn’t bounce their way.
The latter was the case for the entire Fairview squad on Saturday.
The Knights advanced to the state semifinals at four spots – No. 1 singles, No. 2 singles, No. 3 doubles and No. 4 doubles – but couldn’t push any of those late-tournament contenders through to the championship matches at the Gates Tennis Center. They lost all four of their semifinals matches to players from eventual team champion Cherry Creek.
Despite the disappointing results, head coach Chad Tsuda still praised his players, who placed fifth as a team, kept fighting until the end.
“I think today was such a good learning lesson,” Tsuda said. “Sometimes things don’t go our way. You know, that’s tennis. That’s sports. These matches at state are something you really can’t prepare for because they’re unlike any other junior tournament. I was very proud of the effort and every guy kept fighting and scraping. It just didn’t go our way today, Saturday the 26th.
“It’s one that we’ll get over but it hurts now.”
Knights senior Luke Silverman rightfully expected to be in the No. 1 singles finals after finishing runner-up in 2019. On Saturday, he came up against Cherry Creek senior George Cavo, whom he defeated in last year’s semifinals. This time around, Cavo came from behind to win the first set in a tiebreaker and went on to win 7-6, 6-2.
At No. 2 singles, Knights senior Brody Pinto also found himself in the semifinals, though it was his first time being there since he played doubles last year. He and Cherry Creek’s Matt Batmunkh got their money’s worth, playing a back-and-forth match that lasted over three hours.
Up 6-5 in the third set, Pinto slipped while lunging for one of Batmunkh’s better shots and his calf, quad and hip cramped up. After a medical timeout during which he was attended to by the trainer, Pinto didn’t appear to be his previous self. He lost the game and the fell 7-4 in a tiebreaker, losing the three-set epic 5-7, 6-2, 7-6.
“It’s definitely one to remember,” Pinto said. “It was a really tough battle. I was just trying to focus on the next point. I was still able to fight after that and it was good to see that I could hang in there mentally, especially against one of the better players in the state. I think that was a pretty good showing by me.”
At No. 3 doubles, Fairview’s Caden Bell and Dillon Tooman lost 6-1, 6-2 to Cherry Creek’s Ainsley Elliott-Beagle and Casey Dennis. At No. 4 doubles, Fairview’s Henry Burke and Andrew Yonan fell 6-4, 6-0 to Cherry Creek’s Blake Holst and Matt Hu.
Including a team championship in 2017, Fairview has now finished no lower than fifth in the team competition at state in any of the past 14 straight seasons.