Tennis: Aspen makes state semifinals in three flights
After the first day of the Class 4A state tennis tournament in Pueblo, the Aspen High School boys tennis team is in a rare spot to do a few things it hasn’t before.
One would be to get more than one player on the podium (top four), which hasn’t happened since Gary Quandt has been head coach. Second would be to finish in the top seven as a team.
“We had a good day today,” Quandt said. “They all played well. We were pretty happy with the work they did.”
The Skiers ended Thursday tied for third as a team with Niwot, each with 12 points. Kent Denver (21 points) and Colorado Academy (19 points) are the teams they are chasing.
Aspen won six of its seven first-round matches and has three — two singles players and one doubles team — in today’s 9 a.m. semifinals.
Junior Dillon Leasure, the No. 2 singles player, and sophomore Alex Ilic, the No. 3 singles player, both went 2-0 and are a match away from their respective state title match. The No. 1 doubles team of senior Keegan Mehall and junior Gabe Suarez also went 2-0 to advance to today’s semifinals.
“Dillon Leasure at No. 2, he’s got a pretty good shot at it. Alex Ilic at three, he’s got a pretty good shot at it. He plays a Niwot guy, so that might be a key match for team points,” Quandt said. “The No. 1 doubles, they have a tough match. But they’ve had two tough matches and pulled them out anyway. You got to play the matches and see what happens. All the teams are tough that are left.”
Leasure will play Kent Denver’s Jack Moldenhauer in his semifinal match. Ilic will face Niwot’s Riley Black, and the doubles team will face the Kent Denver duo of Laird Stewart and Sam Nassif.
Senior Matthew Lambert, Aspen’s No. 1 singles player, cruised through his opening match before a 6-4, 0-6, 4-6 loss to Discovery Canyon’s Nick Lorentz.
The No. 2 doubles team of sophomore David Zalinsky and freshman Jonah Kelley, as well as the No. 3 doubles team of senior Chris Gregory and freshman George Ghali, also won their first matches before falling in the quarterfinals.
Lambert and the No. 2 and 3 doubles teams will all have chances at getting into the playback rounds. The No. 4 doubles team of sophomore Nathan Bush and junior Dylan DeGraff lost 6-0, 6-1 to a duo from Evergreen in the first round.
The championship matches all will be played Saturday morning.
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