Sprint to the end is here for men’s tennis

The men’s tennis regular season comes to an end this week, as the first draws of the state team championships will be released on Friday. It is the final impetus for teams to add one more statement to the curriculum for the committee to review.

The league championships will be decided and the remaining important doubles matches will be closed. However, the story of the last few weeks has been the tournament game.

From Grand Junction to Cherry Creek, from Kent Denver to Ralston Valley, there have been some big events that have started to show the small margins of separation between the top teams. In 5A, Regis Jesuit showed why the Raiders are a real contender this year, winning the Western Slope Invitational and Ralston Valley Invitational. Strong singles play by rookie William Dickey and the junior duo of Agustin Azcui and Brady Jenkins make the Raiders a real threat to take down Cherry Creek.

Even if Valor wasn’t at full strength in the RV Invite, the Eagles continue to look like the other main threat to the Bruins’ run for the 45th state title. The depth of the Eagles in their singles and doubles positions is perhaps the best it has been to push the field in their quest for their first state title. The other team that seems to belong in the top four is the Sabercats of Fossil Ridge. It’s even more impressive that they remain undefeated in doubles with a first-place finish in the Greeley West Invite and a second-place finish in the RV Invite, despite losing the majority of their team to graduation last season.

Behind those four regulars at the top is a huge group of schools that have little separation between them. Denver East, Ralston Valley, Fairview and Monarch are side by side. Play Rocky Mountain’s Rising Wolves and you’ve got a very competitive group vying for home advantage in the first round of these team playoffs. Boulder, Grandview, Heritage, Mountain Vista, Broomfield, Pine Creek, Rock Canyon and Legacy appear as potential threats.

The committee will have their work cut out for them by seeding these schools with all the matches played between them so far.

In 4A, the story remains similar to 5A as a heavy favorite seems to repeat while a host of contenders will try to knock them off their pedestal.

Kent Denver has been chasing undefeated No. 1 singles champion Nathan Gold. But the rest of the team looks just as tough with Jack Cramer and Mareks Zeile also undefeated in #2 doubles and plenty of depth with brothers Haymons and Morgan solidifying the Sun Devils as the team won.

Cheyenne Mountain still remains the main threat as the Red-Tailed Hawks are also the defending champions due to the team points tie at last year’s state tournament, but the Red-Tailed Hawks suffered a hard 1-6 loss to their arch-rivals. Denver South has been the 4A’s next best team with talent and depth across the lineup. The Ravens have multiple wins over D’Evelyn, Colorado Academy and Mullen. Speaking of 4A’s three local rivals, they seem to belong at the next level, along with Niwot and George Washington. A large group of schools below them looking to earn their spot in the top 16 on Friday include Coronado, Evergreen, Grand Junction, Peak to Peak and Thompson Valley.

With rain predicted for Wednesday, the clock is ticking for the bubble teams hoping for another big win to give them a boost for Friday’s bracket release. It should be an exciting sprint to the regular season finish line for men’s tennis.

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