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There is very little talk among coaches and players in the Cherry Creek tennis program about wins.
Still, senior Tyler Schoen realizes there is still some stress during state tournament time.
“It's a little frustrating,” Schoen said. “People at school always ask if we have won state yet. We make news when we lose.”
Schoen knows he will probably hear comments because Creek didn't win the Class 5A state tournament for the first time in seven seasons.
The competitive three days of state tournament play ended Oct. 14 at the Gates Tennis Center and Fairview edged the Bruins and Regis Jesuit for the state championship.
Fairview, the state runner-up the past six falls to Creek, had 73 points, with the Bruins coming in second with 68 and Regis finishing third with 65 points.
“Second place isn't really losing but for Creek it kind of is,” Schoen said. “We're a team, we win as a team and lose as a team.”
In the past 47 seasons, there have now been only six times that the Bruins have not been crowned as state champions.
“It was a good tournament, with three teams within two points to start the final day,” Creek coach Art Quinn said. “I'm proud of Fairview — they did a good job and deserved it.”
Cherry Creek's Zach Smith and Nick Svichar, the defending No. 4 doubles champions, won the No. 3 doubles title while Schoen and Devin Brownstein captured the No. 4 doubles championship.
George Cavo was the No. 3 singles runner-up and Ben Murray was third at No. 2 singles for Creek. Sam Angell and Drew Hill lost a close three-set title match at No. 1 doubles. Stone Heyman and Nick Eidler were second at No. 2 doubles.
Schoen and Brownstein were involved in the final match of the day against Regis Jesuit and needed to win in order to gain the three points needed for Creek to top Regis in the final team standings.
The Creek pair got stronger as the match wore on and earned a 6-7, 6-4, 6-0 victory over the Raiders' Matthew Mahoney and James O'Connor.
“I had no idea what the win meant,” said Schoen, who whistles between points. “Whistling keeps me up and happy. It helps calm me down and I can focus.”
Senior Ryan Neale of Ponderosa played in the first completed match of the finals as it took him less than an hour to capture third place in No. 1 singles with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Javier Valenzuela of Mountain Range.
“I felt like I played a pretty solid, straight-forward match,” Neale said. “I just played my game. I served well, that was the main thing.”
Neale lost in straight sets to eventual state champion Christian Holmes of Chatfield in the Oct. 13 semifinals.
“I'm a little hurt that I lost in the semis,” he said. “I wanted to make it to the finals. I lost to Christian in the semis and he won the tournament. It makes the loss hurt a little less.”
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