Regis Jesuit sophomore Conor Kaczmarczyk reacts after the final point of his victory with Grigor Karakelyan in a three-set No. 1 doubles match at the Class 5A boys state tennis tournament on Oct. 17, 2019, at Gates Tennis Center. The Raiders earned their way into the Oct. 18 semifinals at all three singles and all four doubles positions. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

DENVER | The Regis Jesuit boys tennis teams quest to defend its Class 5A state championship is in great shape after play Thursday at Gates Tennis Center.

All three of the Raiders’ singles players and all four doubles teams posted first round and quarterfinal victories on the opening day of the three-day tournament to earn the maximum amount of points through the first two rounds.

Coach Laura Jones’ Regis Jesuit team holds a two-point lead over its closest pursuer, Cherry Creek, which qualified six of its seven positions for Friday’s 9 a.m. semifinals. The Raiders and Bruins will meet in just one semifinal match, setting up the potential for several head-to-head state championship matches Saturday.

The biggest threat to Regis Jesuit’s clean sweep came at No. 1 doubles, where junior Grigor Karakelyan and sophomore Conor Kaczmarczyk were greatly tested in the first round.

Karakelyan and Kaczmarczyk (playing in his first state tournament as a doubles player after winning the No. 3 singles state championship last season) dropped the first set to Ralston Valley’s Connor McKenzie and Auron Hoyer — the only set dropped by the Raiders on the day — but rebounded to win the second 6-0 and triumphed 6-4 in the decisive third set.

After that, the pair cruised into a semifinal matchup with Mountain Vista’s Reece Kelly and Max Duque — who they defeated in a Continental League dual match Oct. 1 — with a 6-1, 6-3 quarterfinal victory.

Regis Jesuit’s three singles players — junior No. 1 Morgan Schilling, sophomore No. 2 Andy Schuiling and freshman No. 3 Cameron Kruep — all advanced with two decisive victories. Schilling made last season’s state championship match and can return with a victory over Greeley West freshman Nico Jamison, who he beat in last week’s regional final.

Schuiling is on the cusp of making the state championship match in his 5A state debut after two strong victories, while Kruep had an impressive first two state matches in which he dropped a total of just two games.

The No. 2 doubles team of Jack Carbone and Ryan McCarthy moved into the semifinals with relative ease after wins over teams from Heritage and Fairview, the No. 3 doubles team of Thomas Williams and Will Markowski fended off a challenge in the opening round from Heritage and followed that with a quarterfinal win over Mountain Vista and the No. 4 doubles team of Nathan Tolva and Alexander Samuelson were strong in victories over Arapahoe and Valor Christian.

Cherokee Trail had Aurora’s only other state qualifier in senior No. 2 singles player Saurav Behera, who dropped his first round match to Monarch’s Conner Smith (7-5, 6-1) and was eliminated when Smith lost in the quarterfinals.

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


Team scores (through quarterfinals): 1. REGIS JESUIT 21 points; 2. Cherry Creek 19; 3. Valor Christian 14; 4. Denver East 13; 5. Fairview 10; 6. Fossil Ridge 7; T7. Mountain Vista 6; T7. Fort Collins 6; 9. Heritage 5; T10. Ralston Valley 3; T10. Greeley West 3; 12. Monarch 2; T13. Lakewood 1; T13. Rock Canyon 1; T13. Rocky Mountain 1

Semifinals (9 a.m., Oct. 18)

No. 1 singlesUpper bracket — Nico Jamison (Greeley West) vs. MORGAN SCHILLING (REGIS JESUIT); Lower bracket — George Cavo (Cherry Creek) def. Luke Silverman (Fairview)

No. 2 singlesUpper bracketANDY SCHUILING (REGIS JESUIT) vs. Chase Walters (Heritage); Lower bracket — Christian Trevey (Valor Christian) vs. Matthew Batmunkh (Cherry Creek)

No. 3 singlesUpper bracket — Jack Scherer (Valor Christian) vs. CAMERON KRUEP (REGIS JESUIT); Lower bracket — Nick Svichar (Cherry Creek) vs. Wesley Leach (Denver East)

No. 1 doublesUpper bracket — Aram Izmirian/Kiril Kostadinov (Cherry Creek) vs. Luke Buekelman/Andrew Schell (Valor Christian); Lower bracket — Reece Kelly/Max Duque (Mountain Vista) vs. GRIGOR KARAKELYAN/CONOR KACZMARCZYK (REGIS JESUIT)

No. 2 doubles — Upper bracket — JACK CARBONE/RYAN MCCARTHY (REGIS JESUIT)vs. Mason Heimel/Will Franks (Denver East); Lower bracket — Solimene/Truman Osburn (Valor Christian) vs. Carter Kawakami/Kendall Gallegos (Fort Collins)

No. 3 doublesUpper bracket — William Holst/Blake Holst (Cherry Creek) vs. THOMAS WILLIAMS/WILL MARKOWSKI (REGIS JESUIT); Lower bracket — Maxim Kokoshinsky/Jake Wicks (Fairview) vs. Jack Abbey/Quentin Wolfe (Denver East)

No. 4 doublesUpper bracket — Ryan Pool/Diego Garcia-Gallo (Denver East) vs. ALEXANDER SAMUELSON/NATHAN TOLVA (REGIS JESUIT); Lower bracket — Nathan Henden/Ben Zhang (Cherry Creek) vs. Korben Cook/Kaustubh Kaushik (Fossil Ridge)

— Full first round and quarterfinal results, here