Surgery doesn't derail Chatfield's Christian Holmes in his quest to defend tennis title

Chatfield senior Christian Holmes lines up to hit a forehand during practice last week. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

LITTLETON — Chatfield senior Christian Holmes will be on the tennis court when the Class 5A Region 4 tournament begins Wednesday in Broomfield.

However, the path for the defending Class 5A No. 1 singles state champion took this season was anything but easy. Holmes played tournaments all summer, but he said he “tweaked” his right knee during the summer.

His knee would feel better after a few days, but just before the start of the prep school year in the beginning of August every athletes worse fear of injury came true for Holmes.

“I was playing a tournament, I was pretty really well actually, in the finals of a regional sectional up in Boulder,” Holmes said. “I just planted and felt my knee twist. It was just sheer pain.”

An MRI revealed damage to the meniscus in his right knee. Surgery just before the start of the high school tennis regular season was the only option.

“I tore the meniscus,” Holmes said. “They wanted to repair it, which is better in the long term, but I would have been out a lot longer. It was too missed up, so they ended up shaving it down and clipping a little out. It feels good now.”

Despite knee surgery in August, Chatfield senior Christian Holmes will serve it up at regionals this week. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

A total repair would have likely ended Holmes’s prep tennis career, but doing more of a clean up of the damage he has been able to get back to the tennis court. Holmes has been going to physical therapy regularly to have a shot to defend his No. 1 singles title at the 5A state tournament Oct. 11-13 at Gates Tennis Center in Denver.

Around a month after surgery, Holmes was back on the tennis court hitting balls with the hope he would be back in time for the state-qualifying regional tournament — mission accomplished.

“I think I lost a little touch on the ball, but I’m actually hitting the ball a lot better than I expected to be being out four to five weeks,” Holmes said. “Goals haven’t changed at all. I still think I’m playing really well. I like where my game is at, especially compared to some of the other guys in the state.”

Something else Holmes is chasing after is a college scholarship. Brigham Young University has been top on his list of playing tennis on the collegiate level.

“BYU is still the top option,” Holmes said of his college aspirations. “I’m hoping I’ll get an offer soon. I’ve worked really hard for it. I think coaches see that.”

Holmes has also looked a University of Denver, Utah State, Air Force and Creighton University when it comes to his tennis future.

Chatfield senior Christian Holmes is hoping a college scholarship offer will be on the table soon for last year's Class 5A No. 1 singles state champion. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“Wherever I go I’m just going to be excited to play tennis,” said Holmes, who has also played basketball at Chatfield.

Holmes has already put his stamp on the record books. He became just the fourth boys tennis player from Jeffco to claim the No. 1 singles state title in the largest-classification.

While he has the chance to become the first Jeffco player to become a repeat state champion at No. 1 singles, Holmes is clearly more focused enjoying the overall high school experience.

“What I think is really cool is the Chatfield environment,” Holmes said. “Chatfield does a really good job of getting people involved, getting people to matches, along with basketball, volleyball games … it’s a really fun environment because everyone really cares about what you are doing.”

Holmes defeated Fairview’s Tom Melville in a three-set thriller a year ago to become the Chargers’ first No. 1 singles state champion.

“Winning it for Chatfield was fun. That is one of the reasons why I wanted to get back. It’s just fun playing for your school,” Holmes said. “I traveled to all these tournaments year round, but no one really cares about them. When you are playing for Chatfield people really care.”

Chatfield senior Christian Holmes has a chance to be the only Jeffco boys tennis players to repeat at No. 1 singles in the largest classification. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)