DENVER | Neither weather nor injury could keep the Regis Jesuit boys tennis team from returning its entire team to the Class 5A state tournament.
Coach Laura Jones’ Raiders dominated the 5A Region 3 tournament they hosted Wednesday and Thursday at the Colorado Athletic Club-Monaco, racking up 72 points and advancing all three singles players and all four doubles teams to the Oct. 13-15 state tournament at Gates Tennis Center.
When the Colorado High School Activities Association releases the state tournament draws on Oct. 10, Regis Jesuit singles players Patrick Seby (No. 2) and Erich Nuss (No. 3) and the doubles teams of Luca Abbott and Will Dennen (No. 1), Evan Nuss and Emiliio Gonzalez-Cruz (No. 2), Matt McCarthy and Gabe Caldwell-Nepveux (No. 3) and James O’Connor and Matthew Mahoney (No. 4) all will go in as No. 1 seeds after winning regional titles at their respective positions.
A series of rain delays hit the tournament on its second day, but play eventually began in the early afternoon and Regis Jesuit came out on fire.
Abbott, a senior who already has two state championships in his career, advanced to the state tournament along with junior Dennen courtesy of a 6-1, 6-3 win over Arapahoe’s Nick Stephenson and Jake Hall. Nuss is also a returning state champion — he won at No. 1 doubles last season — but plays at state at No. 3 singles after a crisp 6-2, 6-3 defeat of Fort Collins’ Eric Bockhaus.
Seby — a junior who won a state championship with Abbott last season as a doubles team — is in the state mix at No. 2 singles after navigating a tough test from Ralston Valley’s Jackson Johnstone in the regional final.
Sophomore Evan Nuss and freshman Emilio Gonzalez-Cruz cruised in a near-shutout in the No. 2 doubles final, while juniors McCarthy and Caldwell-Nepveux also had little trouble in the No. 3 doubles title match. Juniors O’Connor and Mahoney had their hands full in the No. 4 doubles championship, however, as they had to outlast Arapahoe’s AJ Nelson and Chase Wern 7-5, 7-6 (2).
At No. 1 singles, sophomore Kosta Garger advanced to the state tournament despite retiring during the championship match against Arapahoe’s Tyler Landen.
Garger — who made the state championship match at No. 3 doubles last season and moved all the way up to the top spot — trailed 3-1 before he crumpled to the court with a hamstring injury as he lunged to make a return.
After stretching and working with the onsite trainer, Garger had to retire from the match, with Landen receiving the automatic state bid. Garger still advanced to state because he defeated third-place winner Jake Becker of Liberty in the semifinals.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
CLASS 5A REGION 3 BOYS TENNIS TOURNAMENT
Oct. 5-6, 2016, at Colorado Athletic Club-Monaco
Team scores: 1. REGIS JESUIT 72 points; 2. Arapahoe 58; 3. Ralston Valley 39; 4. Fort Collins 31; 5. Liberty 14; 6. Loveland 7; 7. Chaparral 6; 8. Dakota Ridge 3
Championship matches (winner qualifies for 5A state tournament)
No. 1 singles — Tyler Landen (Arapahoe) won by injury default over KOSTA GARGER (REGIS JESUIT); No. 2 singles — PATRICK SEBY (REGIS JESUIT) def. Jackson Johnstone (Ralston Valley); No. 3 singles — ERICH NUSS (REGIS JESUIT) def. Eric Bockhaus (Fort Collins), 6-2, 6-3; No. 1 doubles — LUCA ABBOTT/WILL DENNEN (REGIS JESUIT) def. Nick Stephenson/Jake Hall (Arapahoe), 6-1, 6-3; No. 2 doubles — EVAN NUSS/EMILIO GONZALEZ-CRUZ (REGIS JESUIT) def. Garrett Lumley/Simon Alger (Arapahoe), 6-0, 6-1; No. 3 doubles — MATT MCCARTHY/GABE CALDWELL-NEPVEUX (REGIS JESUIT) def. Kirk Zieser/Jay Kikkeri (Arapahoe), 6-2, 6-2; No. 4 doubles — JAMES O’CONNOR/MATTHEW MAHONEY (REGIS JESUIT) def. AJ Nelson/Chase Wern (Arapahoe), 7-5, 7-6 (2)