DENVER | All Luca Abbott and Max Koszowski needed Saturday was a little emotion.
Finding themselves down a set against some familiar foes after just 20 minutes in the Class 5A No. 4 doubles state championship, the Regis Jesuit duo cranked up the energy and got their game back fist pump by fist pump.
Feeding on crowd support at Gates Tennis Center, Abbott and Koszowski pulled themselves all the way back from the brink for a 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory over Tristan Faust and Dylan Harris, posting their third hard-fought victory over the Fossil Ridge duo this season to lead three Raiders placing doubles teams.
“Knowing Max doesn’t have as much experience as I do at the state tournament, I told him ‘we need to have energy, I need you come out here yelling and bringing everything, because this is our last match,’” said Abbott, who placed third at No. 4 doubles in 2013 with Alec Jotte.
“We started off tentative, but then we got clicking,” he added. “We got the crowd into it, which helped, and by the end, Max started yelling.”
Koszowski, playing in his first state tournament, said he and Abbott knew what type of challenge they faced in Faust and Harris, who they beat just a week earlier in regionals.
“Their serves are amazing; we just had to go in as a brand new match and not think about the other ones,” he said. “We couldn’t get our returns in or string points together in the first set, but we found it eventually.”
The No. 4 doubles championship marked Regis Jesuit’s first state title since 2010, when the Raiders won four positions and captured the 5A team championship.
Coach Laura Jones’ team scored 29 points to finish fifth this season, as junior Steven Bummer and senior Truett Davis placed second in No. 3 doubles and seniors Alec Jotte and Joey Robertson claimed third place at No. 2 doubles. The top-eight finish should net regional hosting duties for next season.
Regis Jesuit also received the team sportsmanship award.
“We have a lot to be proud of,” Jones said.
The Raiders nearly had two championship-winning teams, but Bummer and Davis — playing in the No. 3 doubles championship match for the second straight season — couldn’t sustain the momentum from a first-set win over Cherry Creek’s Erin Norwood and Ryan James.
“They (Cherry Creek) came out and played great tennis; I think they really improved even from the second to the third set,” Bummer said. “We just tried to do our best to battle that and get a win, but it didn’t work out.”
Davis, a member of Regis Jesuit’s 5A state championship-winning boys lacrosse team and will play that sport at Colorado College, had few regrets despite the loss in his final high school tennis match.
“We definitely fought hard and that’s all that matter,” he said. “I loved playing with Steven, it’s been awesome. I’m sad to see it end, but glad for the journey.”
Jotte and Robertson faced Fairview’s Devin Harper and Graham Blanco in the third-place match and eventually prevailed 6-1, 1-6, 7-5 against the big-hitting Knights.
Robertson placed in three straight state tournaments, as he was third at No. 4 doubles as a sophomore in 2012 and fourth at No. 2 doubles last season as a junior. Jotte placed twice.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2014 CLASS 5A BOYS STATE TENNIS TOURNAMENT
Oct. 9-11 at Gates Tennis Center
Team scores: 1. Cherry Creek 83 points; 2. Fairview 58; 3. Denver East 45; 4. Boulder 42; 5. REGIS JESUIT 29; 6. Fossil Ridge 28; 7. Mountain Vista 17; 8. Chatfield 6; 9. Monarch 4; 10. Arapahoe 3; T11. Broomfield 2; T11. Castle View 2; T11. Fort Collins 2; T11. Legend 2, T15. Arvada West 1; T15. Grand Junction 1; T15. Heritage 1, T15. Loveland 1.
Aurora championship matches
No. 3 doubles: Erin Norwood/Ryan James (Cherry Creek) def. Steven Bummer/Truett Davis (Regis Jesuit), 6-7, 6-1, 6-3; No. 4 doubles: Luca Abbott/Max Koszowski (Regis Jesuit) def. Tristan Faust/Dylan Harris (Fossil Ridge), 1-6, 7-5, 6-3
Aurora third-place match
No. 2 doubles: Alec Jotte/Joey Robertson (Regis Jesuit) def. Devin Harper/Graham Blanco (Fairview), 6-1, 1-6, 7-5
No. 1 singles: Ignatius Castelino (Fairview) def. Ethan Hillis (Cherry Creek), 1-6, 7-6 (1), 7-5; No. 2 singles: Tommy Mason (Fairview) def. Harshil Dwivedi (Cherry Creek), 6-4, 6-1; No. 3 singles: Alec Leddon (Fairview) def. Robby Hill (Cherry Creek), 6-0, 6-0; No. 1 doubles: Jacob Bendalin/Wyatt Dale (Cherry Creek) def. Kobe Holdren/Ashwin Vaithianathan (Mountain Vista), 5-7, 6-1, 6-3; No. 2 doubles: Noah Reiss/Mitchell Johnson (Cherry Creek) def. Matt Woody/Eli Weiner (Denver East), 6-4, 6-2; No. 3 doubles: Erin Norwood/Ryan James (Cherry Creek) def. Steven Bummer/Truett Davis (Regis Jesuit), 6-7, 6-1, 6-3; No. 4 doubles: Luca Abbott/Max Koszowski (Regis Jesuit) def. Tristan Faust/Dylan Harris (Fossil Ridge), 1-6, 7-5, 6-3