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2012 fall sports previews: Boys tennis

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By Michael Hicks

COLUMBINE REBELS
Head coach: Lorens Knudsen
Classification: 5A Jeffco
2011 dual record: 9-1
2011 recap: Columbine captured the Littleton Invitational, 5A Jeffco League and 5A Region 8 championships. The Rebels sent Kellen Iverson (No. 2 singles), Andy Wright and Galen Graham (No. 2 doubles), and Dane LaFonte and Kyle LaFonte (No. 3 doubles) to state.
Players to watch: Leo Geoghegan, Sr.; Kellen Iverson, Sr.; Mitch Clough, Sr., Calvin Buechler, Sr.; Dane LaFonte, Sr.; Kyle LaFonte, Sr.
Season opener: Aug. 23, at Golden, 3:30 p.m.
State championship: Oct. 11-13, Gates Tennis Center, Denver
Outlook: “We have a very experienced team with eight seniors and two juniors returning as starters,” Knudsen said. “Along with the above-mentioned players, seniors Andy Leach, Kevin Walls and juniors Andy Wright and Galen Graham will be instrumental in our success this year. All have improved since last season and (are) looking forward to having a good season. We are looking to compete for the league championship again and get more players to state.”

CHATFIELD CHARGERS
Head coach: Mark Koza
Classification: 5A Jeffco
2011 dual record: 6-3
2011 recap: Chatfield, which placed second in the 5A Jeffco League to Columbine and third at the Grand Junction Invitational, came back to win a regional team title and place eighth in the 5A state tournament.
Players to watch: John Koza, Jr.; Brian Ross, Soph; Cameron Jenkins, Sr.; Joe Camporele, Sr.
Season opener: Aug. 28, vs. Fort Collins, 3:30 p.m. at Ken-Caryl Ranch House
State championship: Oct. 11-13, Gates Tennis Center, Denver
Outlook: “This will be a solid team, anchored by John Koza and Brian Ross — both returning singles players for the Chargers,” Coach Koza said. “After graduating seven players from last year’s squad many positions are open and will be filled by incoming freshmen as well as a strong group from last year’s varsity No. 2 team.” In addition to playing its Jeffco League schedule, Chatfield plays a challenging non-conference slate that includes Fort Collins, defending state champion Cherry Creek and Arapahoe, as well as the Grand Junction and Cherry Creek invitationals.

LITTLETON LIONS
Head coach: Don Zolla
Classification: 5A Continental
2011 dual record: 7-4
2011 recap: The Lions placed second in the Continental League and in the region, placing only behind Cherry Creek. Littleton sent its No. 1 (Patrick Gray and Hoang Dinh) and No. 4 (Dom Mazzola and Carver Payne) doubles teams to the 5A state tournament.
Players to watch: Dom Mazzola, Jr.; Patrick Gray, Jr.
Season opener: Aug. 24, vs. ThunderRidge, 3:30 p.m.
State championship: Oct. 11-13, Gates Tennis Center, Denver
Outlook: Littleton will field a young team after the graduation of six seniors from 2011, but a number of players who were on hand last week for a three-day camp looked pretty good, Zolla said. “That’s the exciting thing about high school sports. You’re not sure what will happen every year when you come in. We hope to be as good as we were last year.” Littleton will certainly get tested not only in league play but also at the Grand Junction tournament followed by the Littleton Invitational next month.