PUEBLO — A championship journey will finally be completed for two kids who have come so close, but yet so far to reaching the top of the Class 4A boys state tennis mountain.
After winning quarterfinal and semifinal matches on Friday, Colorado Academy’s Richter Jordaan and Discovery Canyon’s Nick Lorenz will face off in the No. 1 singles final on Saturday.
Both have been regular fixtures in the semifinals and Lorenz reached the final as a freshman in 2015. He lost to Kent Denver’s Casey Ross and then fell to the top Kent singles player in the semis in 2016 and 2017.
On Friday he beat Kent’s Sam Nassif 6-1, 6-0 to reach the championship match.
“I’ve lost to Kent three years in a row,” Lorenz said. “It feels good to finally get one on them.”
It’s been a while since Lorenz has been in a position to claim a title. His brother Luke (the 2014 No. 1 singles champion) has been working the Thunder senior in getting him prepared for a return trip to the final. Even with past experience in a championship match, Nick knows that the nerves he feels prior to every match with come out in full force on Saturday.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I always get nervous for every match, especially in the beginning. Once I get my groove it gets a lot more exciting. Tomorrow I’m going to have to do my best to get past the nerves. There’s no time to get settled in anymore.”
Jordaan is simply too good to let Lorenz find a rhythm. The Colorado Academy senior has looked impressive in his two days at the courts at Pueblo City Park, dropping just nine games all weekend, six of which came at the hands of Steambot Springs freshman Andy Schuiling. His impressive wins on Friday give him every reason to believe he can come away with that fourth and final win he needs to stand at the top of the podium.
“I played two good matches today so that gave me some good confidence,” Jordaan said. “Hopefully I can carry that over to tomorrow and play well.”
That can be said for everyone representing Colorado Academy. The Mustangs hold the team lead with 77 points and advanced all seven positions into the finals.
But the work is far from over if Colorado Academy hopes to become the first team in six years to beat out Kent Denver for the team championship.
“We’re going to make it fun for them tonight,” Colorado Academy coach Brian Singer said. “We’ll let them enjoy everything that happened today and then we’ll have a meeting and talk about what tomorrow is all about.”
Niwot is still in the championship mix, but at a bare minimum it is going to take wins in the five positions that the Cougars face the Mustangs head to head.
The morning playback matches will also factor into the team point total. The playback semifinals will start Saturday at 9 a.m. with finals and third-place matches slated to begin at 11 a.m.
Jordaan is just one of 11 players from Colorado Academy doing what he can to contribute to the team championship. But as a senior, it is also his last chance to stand tall as the top singles player in the state.
“It’s bittersweet,” Jordaan said. “It’s a great opportunity to be in the finals but it’ll be the last one. It’s kind of sad.”
Time will tell if an individual gold medal or a team championship trophy can cheer him up and end his career on a high note.