Kent Denver lives up to expectations, wins 4A boys tennis crown

4A champion Kent Denver. (Bethany Brookens/

4A champion Kent Denver. More photos. (Bethany Brookens/

PUEBLO -- This is a team Randy Ross couldn't wait to unveil.

The veteran Kent Denver boys tennis coach had a feeling his 2013 Sun Devil squad could win a state title.

He was right.

Kent dominated the competition, clinching the Class 4A state crown on Friday, thanks to advancing all its players -- No. 1 singles through No. 4 doubles -- through to championship matches at the City Park Tennis Complex.

For good measure, Kent Denver won five of the seven championship brackets Saturday, which was a school record for individual state crowns at a state tournament.

“It was really a lot of fun,” said Ross, who just finished his 18th season coaching Kent Denver. “We knew this was going to be a strong time for Kent Denver tennis and we lived up to our expectations.”

This was Kent Denver’s sixth boys state tennis championship in school history. The Sun Devils tied Cheyenne Mountain for the crown in 1999 and won it outright in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009.

The Sun Devils ended up with 91 points, easily outdistancing Colorado Academy (54) and Niwot (50). Perennial power Cheyenne Mountain, which had won state three years in a row, placed fourth with 25 points.

“I’m really proud of the way my guys played,” Ross said. “We came in here and got the job done.”

Kent Denver’s latest state titles was powered by champions, sophomore Willie Gold (No. 2 singles), freshman Casey Ross (No. 3 singles), sophomore Kevin Adams/senior Ryan Beyer (No. 1 doubles), junior Andrew Thompson/sophomore Blake Parsons (No. 3 doubles) and senior Brad Soderberg/junior Jack Trueblood (No. 4 doubles).

“It was great that I was able to help our team win state,” said Casey Ross, the coach’s son. “I have been around the team my whole life (15 years) and I have always wanted to win a state championship.”

Casey now adds his state title to the two his brother Cory won in 1998 and 1999 at No. 1 singles while playing for Kent Denver. Cory was in attendance Saturday to see his younger brother’s victory.

“That was really special,” Casey said about his brother being there for his win.

Coach Ross admitted he could not have scripted things much better.

“The reason I started coaching in high school was to coach my sons and I have had that opportunity to do so at Kent Denver,” coach Ross said. “It is really cool to have both your sons win state titles, and also have the team win.”

The Sun Devils’ only losses came when junior David Mitchell (No. 1 singles), and senior Josh Rubin and freshman Niko Hereford (No. 2 doubles) were defeated.

The No. 1 singles finishers in 4A. (Bethany Brookens/

The No. 1 singles finishers in 4A. More photos. (Bethany Brookens/

Mitchell, is a three-time state finalist, winning at No. 1 singles as a freshman and taking second the past two seasons in the same bracket.

Mitchell was outlasted by Discovery Canyon’s Luke Lorenz 7-5, 6-4 Saturday. Mitchell had a 2-0 season record against Lorenz prior to state.

“Luke played very, very well,” coach Ross said. “I have to hand it to him. He played great. Also, Colorado Academy also played well. We wanted to go 7-for-7, but give those other players credit.”

Colorado Academy’s Daniel Dilzell/Seth Miller edged Kent’s Rubin and Hereford, 6-1, 6-3.

Coach Ross wasn’t making any guarantees, but he knows the future of his program is very bright.

“We are only losing three seniors, and we have a lot of very good players coming back,” Ross said. “We also have some talented players who should be moving up to varsity next year.”