Discovery Canyon senior Luke Lorenz lay in his Pueblo hotel room Wednesday night and began to visualize his 4A state tennis tournament matches.
He envisioned a variety of things. He imagined the variety of strokes he would try Thursday when the three-day state tournament kicks off at Pueblo City Park. He could picture how everything was going to play out, including his ability to crash the net and capitalize on transition.
But Lorenz also took the time to think about a potential rematch with Kent Denver's David Mitchell, one of this year's perennial favorites.
"I would probably be screaming on the court," Lorenz said about possibly winning the state title and defeating Mitchell. "It is definitely exciting and nerve-racking at the same time - that mental image.
"I'm a pretty mellow guy, but if that were to happen I would let myself go."
Lorenz was 0-2 against Mitchell this season, and he admits he "choked" against him after being up in both sets during regionals.
However, Lorenz understands a rematch with Mitchell is no sure thing, especially with four other highly talented players from the Pikes Peak region - Marcos Salazar (Widefield), Jared Stuart (Lewis-Palmer), Keenan Kaltenbacher (Air Academy) and Austin Hampton (Cheyenne Mountain).
"I definitely have my work cut out for me," the Discovery Canyon co-captain said. "It's definitely not an easy road to get to David. Right now, I am playing some really, really tough competition. Anybody can beat anybody on any given day."
Discovery Canyon coach Mike Humphrey would love to see Lorenz, a two-time Colorado Tennis Association sportsmanship award winner, get another chance to face Mitchell in the championship match.
"You know what they say, third time is the charm," Humphrey said. "Hopefully he will play him and things will go our way."
However, many area coaches - Humphrey included - agree this year's group of state qualifiers from Colorado Springs is a competitive one that can compete with the talented players from Denver.
"It shows a lot that there are some pretty good quality players in the Springs," Widefield coach Chad Anderson said. "Hopefully, they can compete at the tournament."
Anderson is sending one of the region's more intriguing players in Salazar. The freshman who learned to play tennis as a 3-year-old moved to the United States this summer to live with his cousin Maria Galindo, a Widefield student who serves as the team's manager, and her family. By the time he was 12, Salazar had risen to No. 1 in his age group professionally in Peru, he said.
"I was really nervous in (regionals) and I was like 'Oh my God, I have to do it, I have to do it," Salazar said. "But I didn't do it, so now I have to try to win the state.
"I'm excited. I am preparing myself to go and win the state. Yeah, I think I have a really good chance. I know the tournament is really tough. We will see what is going to happen."
Salazar, the only freshman to qualify in 4A No. 1 singles, has played not only in Peru and the U.S., but also in France and Brazil. He is returning to Peru in January, but is hoping to land a scholarship to play tennis in college somewhere in the United States.
Stuart could potentially meet Salazar in the second round if both players win their first-round matches. The Lewis-Palmer senior said playing against regional foes like Lorenz gives him an idea of what to expect.
"Just playing all of that high level of competition during the season really helped you step up and improve your game and realize where you want to be," Stuart said. "I know what to expect, what the level of competition is. That really helps me prepare mentally and relax."
Regardless of who it is, all five area tennis players will not only be looking to win the state title this week, but also help Colorado Springs earn a stamp of approval from state foes.
"It's pretty special to represent such a small area and to try and make a name for all of these schools competing next to all of the powerhouses in Denver," Lorenz said. "I'm just proud to represent DCC and will try and put them on the map, kind of."