Cherry Creek reclaims boys tennis crown

Regis Jesuit senior wins No. 1 singles title

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Regis Jesuit senior Morgan Schilling won his second straight Class 5A No. 1 singles title, and Cherry Creek added another team championship to its lengthy list of accomplishments.

Schilling and the Bruins earned the top honors on the final day of the boys state tennis tournament on Sept. 26 at the Gates Tennis Center.

The tournament was modified because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was two days instead of three and didn’t have playback matches.

Schilling used his blistering serve for 16 aces and defeat Cherry Creek’s George Cavo, 6-1, 6-2, and become the state’s first first two-time state champion since Chatfield’s Christian Holmes won back-to-back crowns in 2017-18.

He downed Ralston Valley’s Dayton Fisher 6-2, 6-1 in the earlier semifinal match.

“In the semifinals, I played really well and got through it," Schilling said. “I didn’t miss much. The second match, I was a little more nervous. Luckily, he was a little bit more fatigued than I was after the semis. I just had to make sure I moved my feet. I played well enough to pull it out.

“I was serving well, which got me out of some trouble. I’ve worked on my service for a while and that really helps. I’m lucky enough with my height and build to get a good angle on the court and be able to hit it pretty hard. I’ve worked many years on it and it’s been really reliable.”

Cavo had a tough semifinal match when he eliminated last season’s state runner-up Luke Silverman of Fairview, 7-6, 6-2.

“I played well,” said Cavo. “Morgan played too tough. I was kind of exhausted from my semifinal match. I was cramping but Morgan played too tough and he is a great player.

“He served really well.That’s something that I was really prepared for going into the match but I was not expecting him to play that well. Congrats to him. He played good.”

Cherry Creek captured its 43rd state tennis title, but the first in three years after the Bruins were relegated to second-place trophies the past three seasons.

“I’m proud of all our players, their parents and all or our coaches” said Creek coach Art Quinn. “They did everything to bring us up to this moment right now. We’ve worked very hard to get here.”

Creek, which advanced all seven individuals and doubles teams to the finals during the morning semifinals on Sept.26, finished with 59 points and sealed the title when Bruins’ No. 4 doubles team of Blake Holst and Matt Hu defeated Valor Christian’s Jackson Case and Logan Weems, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 in the title match.

Two-time defending state champ Regis Jesuit, which won all three singles titles, finished with 55 points with Valor Christian third with 21 points.

Regis’ Conor Kaczmczyk downed Creek’s Matt Batnunkh, 6-1,1-6, 6-0 to take the No. 2 singles crown, while Cameron Kruep edged the Bruins’ Aram Ismirian, 6-3, 6-3, in the No. 3 singles title match.

Besides Holst and Hu, the other Charry Creek doubles champions were unbeaten brothers Kristian and Kiril Kostadinov at No. 1, Braden Mayer and Nathan Hendon at No. 2 and Ainsley Elliott-Beagle and Casey Dennis at No. 3 doubles.

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