PUEBLO — It was a good day for those wearing the logo of Colorado Academy. The Mustangs put a stamp on their run to the Class 4A boys state tennis championship, winning six of seven individual titles while running away with the team championship.
As the matches had cleared the courts and players and spectators stood around waiting for the awards ceremony to start, Colorado Academy coach Brian Singer sat on a bench by himself, making sure he hadn't imagined what had transpired over the last two hours.
“This has been an incredible day for all of us and for the boys," he said. "I’m so proud of them. This is coming off five second (place finishes) and finally, we’re taking the big trophy home.”
And the Mustangs came away with the featured individual championship in No. 1 singles. Richter Jordaan beat Discovery Canyon's Nick Lorenz 6-1, 7-5 to end his career as the best 4A player in the state.
It was an appropriate way to end that career. Jordaan and Lorenz have been friends, teammates and rivals for the better part of 10 years. So for the final match to come down to the two of them facing off was almost too perfect of a way to wrap up the season.
“It was definitely fitting," Jordaan said. "My first-ever juniors match when I was a kid was against Nick. We’ve been juniors doubles partners and we’ve been rivals all through juniors. It was nice to have played him in the finals.”
Jordaan broke Lorenz's first serve of the first set, establishing clear momentum through to start the match. In the second set, the seeds of a three-set tiebreaker were planted as Lorenz built a 5-2 lead, only to see Jordaan re-establish that momentum and come away with the win.
“I was a little disappointed because I had that good lead in the second set," Lorenz said. "I just couldn’t close it out. He started playing a little bit better but there was no excuse to lose that bet.”
It was a tough mental battle on both sides of the net. The two players knew each other so well that they aren't necessarily able to read each other's style and play at a high level to get the win. They both feel the nerves that come with competing against a friend and the play isn't as clean as they would like it to be.
“I think it’s tougher for both of us because we’ve been doubles partners for a long time," Lorenz said. "Any time that we play each other we always talk about how we’re super tight and we don’t play our best.”
At the end, it was Jordaan who had played better. As he and Lorenz shook hands after the win, he had teammates spill on the court to break the news to him that the team title had also been clinched.
“I was excited to hear that we had clinched it," Jordaan said. "I wasn’t paying attention to any of the other matches, I was just focused on my match. But it was exciting.”
Clark Steinhauser scored the first points of the day for Colorado Academy, beating Niwot's Riley Black in No. 2 singles. When Caleb Aguirre and Emmett Ela grabbed a 6-4, 6-3 win over Niwot's Sam Keronen and Manas Saini in No. 1 doubles, the Mustangs officially clinched enough points to claim the championship.
Colorado Academy came one match away from history as no 4A team had ever won titles in all seven positions. The only team to finish second was the No. 3 doubles team of Bennett Liu and Zachary Brinker who fell to Kent Denver's William Coors and Casey Klutznick.
Niwot finished in second place as a team and got five positions into finals matches. Dawson was the 2018 winner of the Vicky Matarrazo Sportsmanship Award.