PUEBLO - Cheyenne Mountain's boys' tennis team earned its best finish in five years without a single position in a championship match.
On Saturday at Pueblo City Park, the Indians, who advanced five positions to Saturday's third-place matches, finished third with 35 points in their best performance in the state tournament since winning the 4A boys' title in 2012.
"Our goal was to try to get at least some people into Saturday," longtime Cheyenne Mountain coach Dave Adams said. "We wanted to finish in the top five."
Connor Larson of Dawson School defeated Cheyenne Mountain's Christian Ridings 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 at No. 3 singles in just the second of two matches Saturday to go to three sets. Ridings was the Indians' lone singles player to advance to a third-place match, while all four of Cheyenne Mountain's doubles teams advanced. The Nos. 2-4 doubles teams all placed third after wins Saturday.
"Last year when we came down here, all the teams from up north were dominant, and so we didn't know what we were going to see, really, other than we knew Kent and (Colorado Academy) were going to be the favorites," said Adams, who last year coached the girls team to their ninth consecutive title. "I was really, really proud of these guys."
A season ago, Cheyenne Mountain had its worst finish in four years after placing 16th.
Since the Indians' last win in 2012, which marked their third consecutive state title, the 4A tournament has been dominated by Kent Denver. The Sun Devils finished with 89 points to win the team title for the fifth consecutive year. Colorado Academy finished second with 81. Discovery Canyon placed ninth with 11, Air Academy finished 11th (four) and Lewis-Palmer was 15th (one).
Discovery Canyon junior Nick Lorenz competed in the third-place match in No. 1 singles where he fell to a familiar foe, Colorado Academy's Richter Jordaan. Jordaan won 6-2, 6-2 after Lorenz defeated Jordaan by the same score earlier this season.
Jordaan also defeated Lorenz at last year's state tournament in the playback match after Lorenz fell in the semifinals to former Kent Denver star player Casey Ross. "I've been playing well up to this point," Lorenz said after his fourth-place finish. "It's just disappointing."
Saturday marked Lorenz's third state appearance. He also played in the title game as a freshman where he lost to Ross.
"He has been working a lot on making some big changes in his game, being more of a transitional player, working on his serve and adding some components to his game that he needs for that next level, meaning the college level," Thunder coach Mike Humphrey said. "He's been doing well with it, but it's a learning process. He's made some big strides and his game is really starting to evolve, so I think this year, overall, he's done very, very well."