Morgan Schilling, a junior at Regis Jesuit, accomplished two things on Oct. 19 during the finals of the boys Class 5A state tennis championships at the Gates Tennis Center.
First, Schilling won the No.1 singles title with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Fairview's Luke Silverman after he was the state runner-up last season.
And second, he helped Regis win its second straight state team title.
“To have all the support and have my family here it was good to win for them and more importantly for the team,” said Schilling. “At first I was nervous, I was playing pretty tight. I got my mojo in the second set and started playing more loose and more to win. I think I played pretty well.
“The experience (last season) helped me, just playing in front of crowds with a big stage and the pressure to win. I knew what that felt like, and coming into today, I knew what to do.”'
After last season's finals loss to Chatfield's Christian Holmes, Schilling's determination swelled.
“He walked off that court, he set a goal for himself to come back this year and win that state championship for his team,” said Regis coach Laura Jones. “Even though we did win the state championship last year, he ended up on the last day with that loss next to his name. He worked super hard with the goal of 'this year I'm going to win the state championship.'”
Schilling's win helped the Raiders outscore perennial power Cherry Creek, 14-6, during the final day of the tournament. Regis held a narrow 69-64 lead when the final round began and finished with an 83-70 advantage over the second-place Bruins in the team standings.
Regis won three of four matches against Creek during the finals.
Andy Schuiling beat Creek's Matthew Batmunkh, 6-4, 6-2 for the No. 2 singles title match. In the No. 3 singles finals, Cameron Kruep downed the Bruins' Nick Svichar, 6-3, 6-2. Alexander Samuelson and Nathan Tolva defeated Creek's Nathan Henden and Ben Zhang, 6-2. 7-2, in the No. 4 doubles finale.
“We played very well considering the circumstances because it was anybody's game to win or lose,” Jones said. “I am happy and feel very blessed... (The players) know how to trouble-shoot, they know if something is not going their way to take a breath, look around and figure out a way to make it go better.”
Cherry Creek did win two state titles.
Aram Izmirian and Kiril Kostadinov defeated Regis' Grigor Karakelyan and Conner Kaczmarczyk 6-4, 6-2 in the No. 1 doubles final, and the Bruins won at No. 3 doubles when brothers William and Blake Holst defeated Maxim Kokoshinsky and Jake Wicks of Fairview. 7-5, 6-3.
“We were close enough going in to have a fighting chance,” said Creek coach Art Quinn. “Our destiny was in our hands to a smaller or larger extent depending on how you look at it. And the finer team prevailed. But it's a long life. The team that prevailed today does not necessarily have to prevail tomorrow. The odds were a little bit longer coming in. Some of the chips fall your way, some of them don't and some of them were never in your pile at all.”
Valor Christian was third in the team standings, and the Eagles' No.2 doubles team of Nick Solimene and Truman Osburn downed Mason Heimel and Will Franks of Denver East to the capture state title, 6-2, 6-1.
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