When Luke Lorenz arrived on the scene at Discovery Canyon three years ago, he quickly realized that emotions wouldn't win him many tennis matches.
"I used to have a bit of a temper," said Lorenz, who on Oct. 12 claimed his school's first 4A singles state championship at Pueblo City Park. "I didn't find myself winning many of those matches, so I mellowed myself out. I found that I had more success once I did that."
The new-and-improved Lorenz qualified for the 4A state tournament all four seasons, gradually getting closer to the top. First, he was bounced in the first round, then advanced to the quarterfinals, then semifinals before coming short.
He wasn't prepared to drop his final high school match in the finals, even against his longtime nemesis, David Mitchell of Kent Denver, whom he hadn't beaten in eight previous matches.
Lorenz won the big one in straight sets, keeping Mitchell on the defensive by cranking up the pressure, a facet of his game lacking in the past.
"I like to be at the net," Lorenz said. "I didn't have the ground strokes before; they weren't big enough. This year, I was smarter and developed a deeper shot. That allowed me to come to the net more successfully. That was my biggest transition."
The night Lorenz hoisted the state-title trophy, he boarded a plane bound for Pittsburgh as he started his transition to college life and beyond. Although he said he won't end up at Carnegie Mellon, his first experience on a college campus will prepare him for future visits.
Lorenz, 17, said he plans on visiting Bentley, Bryant, Stonehill and Fordham to major in business, with a focus in investment analysis.
"My dad is a small personal investor," Lorenz said. "He taught me some of that stuff. I've taken classes in business finance and economics. I've just had a particular interest in that and want to pursue that."
On the court, Lorenz displayed a businesslike demeanor that impressed longtime coach Mike Humphrey.
"Luke is cool and calm on the court, and sometimes, you can't tell whether he's winning or losing," said Humphrey, also the club pro at The Club at Flying Horse, who has coached Lorenz for six years. "I always knew he could play with the top players, but he started out as a real defensive player. We spent a lot of time teaching him to be more aggressive. He did everything right (against Mitchell), and he got into those moments. Those kind of moments don't come along very often."
In two years, Luke's brother, Nick, will enter Discovery Canyon as a freshman. Luke hopes another family member can get take the top step on the podium at the state tournament and experience one of those moments.
"I never considered the possibility of winning state until this year," Lorenz said. "Seeing it come to fruition is pretty awesome. Hopefully, my brother can outdo me when he gets here."