PUEBLO — One point will end seven agonizing years for Cheyenne Mountain boys tennis. A program that has been traditionally strong in the sport is almost a decade removed from hoisting a championship trophy, but by all accounts, the Indians are firmly in the driver’s seat heading into Saturday’s Class 4A boys tennis finals.
At the conclusion of Friday’s semifinal matches and playbacks, Cheyenne Mountain sat atop the team standings with 69 points. It will play for five individual championships on Saturday and need just one point remain out of reach of Mullen who is in second place with 54 points. The Mustangs have 15 points they can get on Saturday.
Three of those final matches will be head to head with Cheyenne Mountain meaning Mullen needs a sweep and a little help if there is going to be a split title.
That’s something Cheyenne Mountain coach David Adams is hoping to avoid. To do that, he’s spending Friday night letting his boys know that even a point away, there are no givens in these situations.
“One year we were in that kind of position," Adams said. "We needed one match. We didn't get it and we lost the state tournament by one point. We'll talk about that. We're just going to tell them not to leave it up to anyone else. You be the one who crosses the finish line."
Among those who will look to do so will be Joey Geisz in No. 1 singles. Geisz beat Dawson senior Riley Burridge 6-2, 6-1 in Friday's semifinals and will face off with Niwot junior Neil Wilcox.
Wilcox beat Geisz 6-3, 6-3 in last year's second round.
But the two competitors were on opposite sides of the bracket this year and while an individual championship would be a feather in Geisz's cap, he knew his semifinal match was important not just for him, but for his team.
"I was nervous going into because that match is worth 11 points," Geisz said. "Those 11 points mean so much. And now tomorrow is like a dream come true. I get to play in a final at state."
He'll have to be on his game if he's going to take down Wilcox. The Cougars junior cruised to two easy wins on Thursday before getting a 6-0, 6-2 win over Mullen's Mac Caldwell. The two games he lost in the second set were the first games he dropped in this state tournament.
"I lost my focus and got a little frustrated," Wilcox said. "I wasn't playing my best tennis, but he was also playing very well."
Ben Bicknell joins Wilcox as the only two Niwot positions to be battling for a state title. Cheyenne Mountain and Mullen both go for five championships on Saturday.
And even if things are seemingly locked up for Cheyenne Mountain, Adams wants his boys to finish the tournament the way they started on Thursday.
"We need to take care of business and we're going to be challenged in every match tomorrow," Adams said. "If we think it's a done deal, we're foolish."
It's not a done deal. But one point will make all the difference.