Winning Class 4A state boys tennis championships is nothing new to Kent Denver.
The Sun Devils have won six boys state tennis titles in school history — all coming since 1999. The Sun Devils tied Cheyenne Mountain for the crown in 1999 and won it outright in 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2013.
Kent Denver will make a run at its seventh state crown this fall, but will have to do it without senior David Mitchell. Mitchell lost in the No. 1 singles finals to Discovery Canyon senior Luke Lorenz (7-5, 6-4) last season.
"My team is going to be good this year, but we are going to be a little bit weaker up top," veteran Kent coach Randy Ross said. "David Mitchell, our No. 1 singles player, is not returning to Kent Denver. He's staying down in (Bradenton) Florida at IMG Academy. We're going to be a little bit weaker in the No. 1 position than we have been the last several years, but we are going to be deep."
Mitchell was a three-time state finalist, winning at No. 1 singles as a freshman and taking second the past two seasons in the same bracket.
Junior Willie Gold (No. 2 singles), and sophomore Casey Ross (No. 3 singles), the coach's son, won state a year ago, as did the doubles team of senior Andrew Thompson and junior Blake Parsons (No. 3 doubles).
Additionally, junior Kevin Adams (No. 1 doubles), and senior Jack Trueblood (No. 4 doubles) return after winning state in 2013 with their graduated partners. Sophomore Niko Hereford (No. 2 doubles) also was part of a state runner-up tandem last season.
"We're going to solid, but Niwot is going to be good and Colorado Academy is going to be good and it's going to be interesting," coach Ross said.
A year ago, 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.
"High school tennis is an awesome time of year for me," Ross said. "I love high school tennis, it is so much fun. I love high school tennis in terms of what it brings to the game of tennis, the whole team element of it which is so different for these boys.
"They are playing individually all the rest of the year and they get this opportunity to play for a team. It's a fast and furious nine-week season."
Class 4A boys tennis
Defending champion: Kent Denver
Runner-up: Colorado Academy
Returning All-State players: Peter Hillary, Colorado Academy, sr. (1st); Ethan Pollock, Colorado Academy, sr. (1st); Jack Trueblood, Kent Denver, sr. (1st); Kevin Adams, Kent Denver, jr. (1st); Willie Gold, jr., Kent Denver (1st); Casey Ross, Kent Denver, so. (1st)
Regular season begins: Aug. 14
Regionals: Completed by Oct. 4.
Championship: Oct. 9-11, Pueblo City Park Tennis Complex