Ryder Searle played a long three-set match in his first appearance at the state tournament.
Then, with his fate not in his own hands, his chances at a third-place finish slipped away.
Searle, the Pagosa Springs High School student-athlete who plays for Durango High School because the Pirates dont have a tennis program, fell 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 to Kollen Kaltenbacher of Air Academy in the first round of the CHSAA Class 4A Boys Tennis State Championships on Friday in Pueblo. He saw his tournament come to an end hours later when Kaltenbacher lost in straight sets to David Mitchell of Kent Denver 6-1, 6-2.
In order to qualify for playbacks and a shot at third place, the losing player must hope his winning opposition qualifies for the finals. Those players who lose to the two finalists enter the playback bracket; all others are eliminated.
Searle, a state alternate the last two years, is a junior and will have a shot to return to state next year as a senior. He qualified for state by winning his regional.