The Hotchkiss tennis team had one of its best seasons in recent years, and sent two players into final-round competition at last week's 4A Region 8 tournament. The tournament "capped off a nice season, a fun season for sure," said head coach Brian Benson.
No. 1 singles Tony Ibarra was seeded sixth and opened Friday's competition with a first-round upset (6-4, 0-6, 6-2) over Graham Caffey of Montezuma-Cortez. Ibarra immediately went on to face top seeded Ryder Searle of Durango. Ibarra went three sets against Searle, but lost 6-4, 0-6, 6-2. Searle went on to win the championship.
Ibarra moved on to face Aspen's Kalen Gabow Saturday, and lost 0-6, 3-6, to place fourth.
Benson praised Ibarra's 7-8 season record and his level of play throughout the season, especially considering the senior, who was team manager his freshman and sophomore years, played only two seasons.
Brydie Mitchell ended his career with an opening-round, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 loss to Chancey Dunn of Montrose.
Mitchell had beaten Dunn earlier in the season, "But Chancey played a really solid match and earned everything he got," said Benson.
At 3 singles, Azure Eller opened with a 6-2, 6-2 upset over Ford Wegner of Montezuma-Cortez, then faced Aspen senior Brad Broeking. Eller lost, 6-1, 6-2, and Broeking went on to win the championship.
Eller played Durango's Wesley Komick Saturday for third place. Benson described how the match went four sets, with Komick winning the first set, then Eller winning, 4-6.
Komick came from behind to win the third set, 7-6. Eller "had to hold off three match points for Durango," said Benson, then won the tiebreaker match "decisively," 7-1, for the win.
Eller then challenged second-place Steamboat for a trip to state. Eller was outperformed, losing 1-6, 0-6.
With Mitchell and Ibarra graduating, Eller said earlier that he is likely to play at 1 Singles next season, which will present some bigger challenges.
Eller, who first picked up a racket last spring, finished the season with a 10-6 record.
At 3 doubles, Josh Parsons and Caleb Bayles opened with a first-set loss to Montrose, then won the second set. Montrose hung on to win the the third set, 2-6. Parsons and Bayles end the season with a 5-3 record.
In what Benson described as "maybe their finest first set of the season, the team of David Oviedo and Ulises Mendoza lost, 7-5, 6-1 to David Thorpe and Jared Warren of Montrose at 1 doubles; 2 doubles Tyler Suppes and Keegan Burke lost, 6-1, 6-2, to Montrose.
Four doubles Alex Hulteen and Quentin Varner lost, 6-0, 6-2, to Montrose.
Aspen won the tournament and kept Steamboat Springs from winning their 15th consecutive regional title. "I think everyone was kind of pulling for Aspen just a little," said Benson.blog comments powered by Disqus