DENVER — Chatfield's Christian Holmes is off to a near-flawless start in the Class 5A boys tennis state tournament as he seeks to defend his crown at No. 1 singles.
Holmes, a senior, opened the tournament with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Mountain Vista's Max Probst in the first round. He then beat Grand Junction's Cameron Weckerly 6-0, 6-1 in the quarterfinal to secure a spot in Friday's semifinals.
Holmes is seeking to become the first repeat champion at 5A No. 1 singles since Hayden Sabatka of Highlands Ranch did it in 2011 and 2012.
He will face Arapahoe senior Tyler Landen in the semifinals, which begin at 9 a.m. Landen beat Rock Canyon's Chris Swanson (6-2, 6-3) and Fairview's Luke Silverman (6-2, 6-0).
This is the second consecutive season that Landen has reached the semifinals at No. 1 singles; he was in the quarterfinals as a sophomore.
Holmes missed the early part of the season after tearing the meniscus in his right knee, but returned to win his regional last week.
In the other semifinal, Regis Jesuit's Morgan Schilling will face Cherry Creek's George Cavo. Both are sophomores.
Cavo, who finished second at No. 3 singles last season, beat Monarch's Michael Conde (6-4, 6-3) and Poudre's Jordan Rickard-Peisner (6-1, 6-2) to reach the semifinals.
Schilling beat Heritage's Chase Walters (6-1, 6-3) and Boulder's Ryan McCoy (6-2, 6-0) to advance. Schilling lost in the playbacks at No. 1 singles last season.
Schilling led a Regis Jesuit contingent which advanced six of seven positions into the quarterfinals. The Raiders, among the favorites to claim the team crown, are tied for the lead after the first day with 19 points. They last won a state title in 2010.
Perennial power Cherry Creek also has 19 points to lead the field. Defending champion Fairview sits in third with 12 points.
Of note, when Lakewood senior Danny Kingman won his first-round match 6-2, 6-2 against Cherokee Trail sophomore Shawn Springer, it was the first time the school had won a state match since 1972.
Two matches didn't complete play on Thursday due to rain, and will complete on Friday morning.