PUEBLO — Everything surrounding Greeley West’s Nico Jamison should feel different. His boys tennis state tournament venue is different. The teams he’s playing are different. But at the end of the day, it’s just tennis to him and his goals haven’t changed event, even with the Spartans dropping down to Class 4A this year.
Jamison wants to win a championship. And the feeling with the way he played in his first round and quarterfinal matches is that he can do it. As a freshman last year, Jamison advanced to the 5A No. 1 singles semifinals before falling to Regis Jesuit’s Morgan Schilling, the eventual state champ.
At the 4A tournament at Pueblo City Park, he’s aiming for that No. 1 singles title and has found some additional benefits in his team’s change in classification.
“More of my teammates are here this year so that’s super fun,” he said. “There’s a lot more energy. It feels the exact same and I’m bringing the same energy I brought to Gates. And it’s still a good experience.”
And it didn’t look difficult, at least on paper. He took down Colorado Academy senior Nick Deitrich 6-0, 6-1 in his first match and Denver South freshman Raphael Weiland 6-0, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
This was certainly an easier trip to the semis than last year when he won his first matches 6-3, 6-2 and 6-4, 7-5 before falling to Schilling in the semis. Since then, he’s been using that loss to fuel himself for another run at a state title.
“Last year I had to play Morgan who is a very good player,” Jamison said. “Since then I’ve been training and training and preparing for whoever I reach next. I’ve learned that you can’t think about the past. This is state. I’m excited to see what I can do.”
This year’s adjusted single-elimination format condensed the tournament to two days. Normally, the semifinals would be the only match played on the second day for the players reaching the championship. Retiring his opponents in straight sets is certainly an advantage for Jamison, but the defending champion might be a tad more rested.
Niwot’s Neil Wilcox advanced to the semifinals after Cheyenne Mountain’s Robbie Mertz was retired with an injury during their quarterfinal match.
“Ultimately I’ll go into tomorrow with more energy,” Wilcox said while acknowledging that the way he advanced was unfortunate.
With 19 points, Mullen came out of the first day of the tournament with the team lead after advancing positions to Saturday’s semifinals. Cheyenne Mountain claimed the team championship last year after clinching at least a share of the title after the second day of the tournament.
The semifinal matches at Pueblo City Park are slated to begin at 9 a.m. with the championship matches tentatively scheduled for 11:30 a.m.