Another highly successful boys tennis season for Aurora saw the courts at the Gates Tennis Center jam-packed with locals on the final day of the Class 5A state tournament.
Four city doubles teams (all from Regis Jesuit) and a singles player (Overland’s Dawid Kijak) played for state titles and came away with one of them in the Regis Jesuit No. 2 doubles team of Evan Nuss and Emilio Gonzalez-Cruz.
The Raiders’ sophomore-freshman duo lead the way on the 2016 All-Aurora Boys Tennis Team, which is determined primarily by results at the 5A state tournament. Rounding out Regis Jesuit’s contingent on the all-city team is Nuss’ brother Erich at No. 3 singles, plus the runner-up doubles teams of Luca Abbott and Will Dennen (No. 1), Matthew McCarthy and Gabe Caldwell-Nepveux (No. 3) and James O’Connor and Matthew Mahoney (No. 4).
Kijak is joined on the All-Aurora team by his Overland senior teammate Draden Hoover at No. 2 singles.
Evan Nuss and Gonzalez-Cruz had a dramatic run to the championship match with a pair of three-set victories, but had very little trouble with Denver East’s David Glazer and Patrick Berzins in a tidy 6-3, 6-0 victory in which they never took their foot off the gas pedal. The duo gave the Regis Jesuit program at least one state doubles champion for the third consecutive season.
Abbott was part of the state championship doubles wins in both of the previous seasons, but he was unable to add a third as he and Dennen had their most difficult match of the season in a straight set loss to Fairview’s Devin Harper and David Zhao. Still, Abbott concluded his prep career with four top-four state finishes, while Dennen went a step further than he had the previous season with a third-place finish at No. 4 doubles.
The No. 3 team of juniors Caldwell-Nepveux and McCarthy, and the No. 4 duo of O’Connor and Mahoney, both lost tough battles to tandems from state team champion Cherry Creek in the finals. McCarthy and Caldwell-Nepveux fell in a third-set tiebreaker after coming within a couple of points from winning a title, while O’Connor and Mahoney — playing at state for the first time — lost in two tight sets.
Kijak and Hoover pushed each other to new heights with their play and it helped Kijak make it all the way to the No. 1 singles state final. The Trailblazers had hopes of their first state state champion since 1996, but Kijak ran into rolling Ethan Hillis of Cherry Creek and lost in straight sets.
Hoover battled through chronic shoulder troubles all season to reach the state tournament, where he won his first round match before he fell in the second round while he played in clear agony. He and Regis Jesuit’s Patrick Seby both won a match at state, but Hoover won the head-to-head matchup when they played at the Western Slope Open.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2016 AURORA SENTINEL ALL-AURORA BOYS TENNIS TEAM
No. 1 singles — Dawid Kijak, Overland, jr.; No. 2 singles — Draden Hoover, Overland, sr.; No. 3 singles — Erich Nuss, Regis Jesuit, sr.; No. 1 doubles – Luca Abbott & Will Dennen, Regis Jesuit; No. 2 doubles — Emilio Gonzalez-Cruz & Evan Nuss, Regis Jesuit; No. 3 doubles — Gabe Caldwell-Nepveux & Matthew McCarthy, Regis Jesuit; No. 4 doubles — Matthew Mahoney & James O’Connor, Regis Jesuit
Honorable mention: No. 1 singles — Kosta Garger, Regis Jesuit, soph.; No. 2 singles — Patrick Seby, Regis Jesuit, jr.; No. 3 singles — Henry Vice, Overland, sr.; No. 1 doubles — Adhithya Basker & Matthew Yan, Grandview; No. 2 doubles — Matas Suziedelis & Michael Troutman, Grandview