The Durango High School boys tennis team had a rough start to the CHSAA 4A boys state tennis championships on Thursday in Pueblo.
No Demons player picked up a win in the first round and they’ll now wait to see if they’ll make a playback match on Friday.
Durango’s No. 3 doubles team of Elias Fiddler and Joe Lawton was the closest to advancing to the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Pueblo West’s Spencer Aragon and Tyler Fletcher. But Fiddler and Lawton were eliminated when the Pueblo West team lost in the quarterfinals to a Niwot team.
“We came out the gate, and I think we were up 3-0, so they had good intensity and great competitive drive toward the match,” DHS head coach Alan Batiste said of Fiddler and Lawton. “It seemed like Pueblo West came out a little flat. ... But then Pueblo West won three in a row. I think that shocked the boys a little bit and had them flustered. ... It was a competitive match for both teams. I’m proud of them.”
The No. 1 doubles team of Luke Jernigan and Tommy Roders lost 6-1, 6-1 to Kent Denver’s Oliver Greenwald and Alex Wimer, and the No. 4 doubles team of Noah Pritchard and Corbin Reiter lost to Colorado Academy’s Eli Henry and Will Smart 6-0, 6-0.
“Tommy and Luke, it was David versus Goliath a little bit. Kent Denver is one of the well-known tennis schools in the state and they played a really good doubles 1 team,” Batiste said. “We were fortunate to get (Jernigan and Rodgers) to play this week after they lost in regionals and got the alternate. It was a really tough match with Kent Denver. They have some really talented tennis players and there wasn’t a lot we could do.”
Pritchard and Reiter made some early mistakes in their match and never recovered. Batiste said the mistakes played a big part in the lopsided match that ended in a little more than 20 minutes.
In No. 1 singles, DHS freshman Ethan Craig fell in straight sets against Discovery Canyon’s Nick Lorenz 6-0, 6-0.
Lorenz, a junior, reached the finals for No. 1 singles as a freshman and made it to the semifinals last season. Lorenz won his quarterfinal match and, if he can beat Kent Denver’s Jack Moldenhauer in the semifinals, Craig will get a chance at another playback match.
“When you’re a freshman coming up to the state tournament, it’s a great experience to get,” Batiste said. “It’s a learning experience, and I think Ethan learned from it and will take what he learned into the next few years. If nothing, it’s a good experience in competitive sports and Ethan has put himself in position to be successful. He’ll learn from it and this experience will benefit him later down the line.”
Craig and the Nos. 3 and 4 doubles teams still have a chance to make a playback Friday, and the Demons find themselves in familiar territory after a similar fate at the 4A Region 8 tournament last week.
“It kind of worked out again in our favor, kind of like regionals with us being the lower seed and playing a really good high seed with someone who could make it to the final,” Batiste said. “It’s kind of working out right now and we’re just waiting to see what happens.”