DENVER | The Regis Jesuit boys tennis team finished 3-1 in head-to-head finals matchups with rival Cherry Creek Saturday on the final day of the Class 5A state tournament, but it wasn’t quite enough to complete its quest for a three-peat.
The Raiders posted a sweep of the three singles championships as senior Morgan Schilling (No. 1), junior Conor Kaczmarczyk (No. 2) and sophomore Cameron Kruep (No. 3) all were victorious over Bruins at Gates Tennis Center, but Cherry Creek’s doubles dominance proved the difference in a four-point victory at Gates Tennis Center.
The Bruins qualified for the finals in all seven positions and won all four doubles crowns — including the No. 3 title at the expense of the Raiders — to earn 59 points to the 55 for coach Laura Jones’ Regis Jesuit team, which suffered a bit from the lack of playback brackets this season as three doubles teams lost in the semifinals.
Cherry Creek claimed its first state title since 2016 — and 43rd all-time — and also was the first winner of a prep state championship in Colorado in the coronavirus pandemic era since last winter.
Masks were worn, social distancing practiced and attendance limited to two spectators per active player — plus those that found a way to watch from outside the fence — but the intense competition on the final day felt normal.
Standing out was the second straight victory for Schilling, who became the first No. 1 singles player to repeat in 5A since Chatfield’s Christian Holmes, who beat Schilling in the final in 2018 to win his second in a row.
Facing friend and rival George Cavo of Cherry Creek, Schilling rode a big service game to victory, capping an undefeated season with an ace on match point for a 6-1, 6-2 win. Afterwards, he shared a lengthy hug at the net with Cavo.
Kruep also won his second straight title at his position, as he took the No. 3 singles crown again with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Cherry Creek’s Aram Izmirian, who was forced to take several breaks during the match due to various injuries. Kruep, just a few weeks removed from a car accident, completed an undefeated season in which he didn’t lose a single set.
Kaczmarczyk won the No. 3 singles title as a freshman in 2018, then dropped into the doubles ranks a year ago before working his way back into the singles mix this season. Playing Cherry Creek’s Matt Batmunkh, who had played a grueling three-set semifinal match in the morning, Kaczmarczyk regrouped after losing a lopsided second set for a 6-1, 1-6, 6-0 victory.
Aidan Sobolevsky and Alexander Samuelson were the lone Regis Jesuit doubles team to make it through the semifinals and drew a matchup with Cherry Creek’s Ainsley Elliott-Beagle and Casey Dennis. The Raiders dropped the opening set, but forced a tiebreak in the second set, which was ultimately won by the Bruins.
The No. 1 doubles team of Grigor Karakelyan and Andy Schuiling, the No. 2 doubles tandem of Jack Carbone and James Lynch and the No. 4 doubles teams of Ryan McCarthy and Charlie Jenkins each were stopped in the semifinals.
McCarthy and Jenkins won the first set of their match, dropped the second and were trying to climb back in the third against Valor Christian’s Jackson Case and Logan Weems when they were forced to change courts due to a reservation by a member at the tennis center. The Eagles finished off the three-set victory on the new court.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2020 CLASS 5A BOYS STATE TENNIS TOURNAMENT
Sept. 25-26 at Gates Tennis Center
Final team scores: 1. Cherry Creek 59 points; 2. REGIS JESUIT 55; 3. Valor Christian 21; 4. Fossil Ridge 17; 5. Fairview 14, 6. Ralston Valley 9; T7. Denver East 5; T7. Fort Collins 5; 9. Lakewood 3; T10. Chatfield 2; T10. Heritage 2; T12. CHEROKEE TRAIL 1; T12. Arapahoe 1; T12. Fruita Monument 1; T12. Monarch 1
Championship matches: No. 1 singles — MORGAN SCHILLING (REGIS JESUIT) def. George Cavo (Cherry Creek), 6-1, 6-2; No. 2 singles — CONOR KACZMARCZYK (REGIS JESUIT) def. Matt Batmunkh (Cherry Creek), 6-1, 1-6, 6-0; No. 3 singles — CAMERON KRUEP (REGIS JESUIT) def. Aram Izmirian (Cherry Creek), 6-3, 6-3; No. 1 doubles — Kristian Kostadinov/Kiril Kostadinov (Cherry Creek) def. David Bomgaars/Luke Beukelman (Valor Christian), 6-4, 6-3; No. 2 doubles — Braden Mayer/Nathan Henden (Cherry Creek) def. Brady Elliott/Drew Holmes (Fossil Ridge), 6-3, 4-6, 7-6; No. 3 doubles — Ainsley Elliott-Beagle/Casey Dennis (Cherry Creek) def. AIDAN SOBOLEVSKY/ALEXANDER SAMUELSON (REGIS JESUIT), 6-2, 7-6; No. 4 doubles — Blake Holst/Matt Hu (Cherry Creek) def. Jackson Case/Logan Weems (Valor Christian), 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
— Full Class 5A state tournament match results, here