Boys Tennis: Overland’s Kijak, four Regis Jesuit doubles teams set to play for 5A state championships

Overland senior Draden Hoover, left, congratulates junior Dawid Kijak after Kijak won his No. 1 singles semifinal match at the Class 5A boys state tennis tournament on Oct. 14, 2016, at Gates Tennis Center in Denver. Kijak is the first Overland tennis player to make a state championship match since 1997, when the Trailblazers had a player in all three singles finals. Championship and third-place matches — which include Kijak and four Regis Jesuit High School doubles teams — begin at 9 a.m. Oct. 15. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

DENVER | Seven championship matches will be contested Saturday at the Class 5A boys state tournament, with players from Aurora schools is part of five of them.

Regis Jesuit has all four of its doubles teams in championship play at 9 a.m. at Gates Tennis Center — which is fairly common occurrence — but Overland has junior Dawid Kijak in the No. 1 singles final, which is quite a rarity.

Kijak became the first Trailblazer to make a 5A state championship match since 1997, when the team finished as the 5A runner-up with a player in all three singles matches, with a semifinal victory over Heritage’s Skyler Gates Friday.

Cherry Creek’s Ethan Hillis will oppose Kijak in the No. 1 singles final.

Regis Jesuit sits fourth in the team standings behind the Bruins (65), Denver East (57) and Fairview (51) and coach Laura Jones’ team plans to be a factor in who wins the team championship with its heavy representation in finals.

Senior Luca Abbott has earned a shot to win his third career 5A state championship, as he and junior Will Dennen at No. 1 doubles will face Fairview’s Devin Harper and David Zhao, while the members of the Raiders’ three other doubles teams — sophomore Evan Nuss and freshman Emilio Gonzalez-Cruz at No. 2, juniors Matt McCarthy and Gabe Caldwell-Nepveux at No. 3 and juniors James O’Connor and Matthew Mahoney at No. 4 — all play for their first state titles.

O’Connor and Mahoney, each making their state tournament debut, had the most adventurous semifinal round as they were shut out in their opening set by Fairview’s Aaron Nguyen and Hall Humphrey, but roared back for a o-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory.

Nuss, who lost in the No. 3 doubles final last season, is back for another shot with Gonzalez-Cruz thanks to a three-set victory, while McCarthy and Caldwell-Nepveux needed just two sets to reach the final.

Regis Jesuit’s team championship hopes took a hit when all three of its singles players were eliminated short of the placing round.

Senior Erich Nuss was on the verge of winning his No. 3 singles semifinal, but ended up dropping a three-setter to Denver East’s Bryce Viorst, then he fell in three sets to Fairview’s Graham Blanco in the consolation semifinals.

Sophomore Kosta Garger won a playback match at No. 1 singles, but fell to Denver East’s Kai Smith in the consolation semifinals and junior Patrick Seby (a state champion last season with Abbott) lost in the first round of playbacks.

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel


At Gates Tennis Center

Team scores: 1. Cherry Creek 65 points; 2. Denver East 57; 3. Fairview 51; 4. REGIS JESUIT 44; 5. Fossil Ridge 21; T6. OVERLAND 15; T6. Heritage 15; T8. Mountain Vista 4; T8. Grand Junction 4; T8. Monarch 4; T11. Arapahoe 2; T11. Boulder 2; T11. Broomfield 2; T11. Horizon 2; T15. GRANDVIEW 1; T15. Rock Canyon 1; T15. Fort Collins 1; T15. Coronado 1; T15. Chatfield 1

Championship matches

No. 1 singles — DAWID KIJAK (OVERLAND) vs. Ethan Hillis (Cherry Creek); No. 2 singles — Charlie Franks (Denver East) vs. Robby Hill (Cherry Creek); No. 3 singles — Akhil Gupta (Fossil Ridge) vs. Bryce Viorst (Denver East); No. 1 doubles — LUCA ABBOTT/WILL DENNEN (REGIS JESUIT) vs. Devin Harper/David Zhao (Fairview); No. 2 doubles — David Glazer/Patrick Berzins (Denver East) vs. EVAN NUSS/EMILIO GONZALEZ-CRUZ (REGIS JESUIT); No. 3 doubles — Stone Heyman/Nick Eidler (Cherry Creek) vs. MATT MCCARTHY/GABE CALDWELL-NEPVEUX (REGIS JESUIT); No. 4 doubles — Zach Smith/Nick Svichar (Cherry Creek) vs. JAMES O’CONNOR/MATTHEW MAHONEY (REGIS JESUIT)