DENVER | In his return to the Class 5A boys state tennis tournament, Cherokee Trail’s Shawn Springer dug in and made a memory Friday.

The senior No. 1 singles player — back at the Gates Tennis Center for the first time since 2018 — rallied from a loss in the opening set to Lakewood’s Jake Haas to post a gritty 3-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-3 victory and advance to the afternoon quarterfinals.

Springer’s victory gave the Cougars their first team point at the state tournament since a consolation bracket win by the No. 2 doubles teams of Colin Richardson and Tom Parsons in 2015 and became the first quarterfinalist for the school since 2013, when Dylan Zumar also posted a first round victory before falling in the next round.

In his previous trip to the state tournament in 2018 — when he was at No. 2 singles — Springer lost to an opponent from Lakewood and he got into a tough position by dropping the first one to Haas, another Tigers player. He dug in deep to get the second set into a tiebreak and used an effective serve to win that 10-8, then got up 4-0 in the third set.

Haas broke Springer’s serve to pull within 5-3 and was serving, but Springer earned the break when he finished match point with a volley that hit the tape and just went over.

Springer’s opponent in the second round is a daunting one in Regis Jesuit’s Morgan Schilling, the defending state champion. Schilling cruised to a 6-1, 6-0 win over Chatfield’s Daniel Smith in his opening match.

The opening round was a good one for Aurora as whole, as all three singles players and all four doubles teams from Regis Jesuit posted victories to move into the second round.

Springer’s teammates, the No. 4 doubles teams of junior Nick Price and freshman Ethan Singleton, dropped a 6-2, 6-1 decision to Fossil Ridge’s Grant Samuelson and Evan Goertzen in the first round.

— Full first day results from the Class 5A boys state tennis tournament, here

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports

Courtney Oakes is sports Editor and photographer with Sentinel Colorado. A Denver East High School alum. He came to the Sentinel in 2001 and since then has received a number of professional awards from...