HIGHLANDS RANCH — The last time Andy Wright went to the 5A state boys tennis tournament he was playing No. 2 doubles. This year, the Columbine senior is going by his lonesome.
Wright, Columbine’s No. 2 singles player, will be the Rebels’ only representative at state after he placed second at the 5A Region 5 tournament on Oct. 3 at the Lebsock Tennis Center at Redstone Park. He won three of four matches, including a playback match against Mitch McGregor of Heritage 6-4, 6-3.
“It’s huge going my senior year. That’s what I’ve been going for all year. I’m just glad I made it,” Wright said.
The playback match was one of four played by Columbine, but Wright was the only one to come out victorious. The Rebels’ Kyle Iverson (No. 3 singles), Cole LaFonte and Chris Collins (No. 1 doubles), and Spencer Martin and Ethan Lanz (No. 2 doubles) also played in a state-qualifying match but came up just short.
Wright was one of two Rebels to reach the finals, and Iverson was the other. In the finals, Wright lost to Mountain Vista’s Ben Antonsen 6-1, 6-1, but he said the result wasn’t a letdown. If anything, it only served as a motivator to play well in his next match.
“I started off slow and had a tough time, but then I figured the guy out,” Wright said of his match with McGregor.
Wright said going to state as a singles player will be tougher than as a doubles player, but he’s hopeful he can keep his emotions in check and have a good tournament.
“He’s a senior. He’s matured a lot. He’s worked hard on his game. He’s worked especially hard the last few weeks on his second serve. It’s helped him to get to the point he’s at now,” Columbine head coach Lorens Knudsen said.
Wright’s double faults are way down, and as a result he’s not giving away points as much, Knudsen said.
Columbine finished fourth in the seven-team regional with 35 points. Mountain Vista won with a maximum 84 points.
“This was, going into this season, a pretty inexperienced group. We had one returning singles player, and we lost eight seniors,” Knudsen said. “To do as well as we did, I’m very happy with that. I hope the kids are, too. There were a lot of big shoes to fill from last season.”
Contact Michael Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.
The following is a list of local state qualifiers for the 5A state boys tennis tournament, scheduled for Oct. 10-12 at Gates Tennis Center in Denver:
NO. 1 SINGLES
Adam Rivera, Dakota Ridge; John Koza, Chatfield
NO. 2 SINGLES
Brian Ross, Chatfield; Andy Wright, Columbine
NO. 3 SINGLES
Patrick Ross, Chatfield (regional champion)
NO. 1 DOUBLES
John Simpson, Sam Meyer, Chatfield (regional champs)
NO. 2 DOUBLES
Austin Stutz, Chase Adams, Chatfield