Coach: Paul Kardel, 20th season
Last year: 7-2 in duals and finished runner-up at regional; had five positions advance to state
Returning athletes: Reece Colson, Jr.; Joel Flinn, So.
Notes: Graduation hit the Rangers hard, taking all three of the Rangers’ singles spots and top doubles team. Colson helped the No. 3 doubles team to the program’s lone victory at the state tournament last year.
Palmer Ridge Bears
Coach: Skip Wells, 11th season
Last year: Went 4-7 in duals and did not qualify any players for state
Returning athletes: Ethan Breese, So.; Bryce Miller, Sr.; James York, Sr.; Jackson Zimmer, Sr.
Other top athletes: Ben Carlander, Fr.; Alan Davis, Fr.; Parker Hogan, Sr.; Matthew Porter, Sr.; Quinn Turner, Fr.
Outlook: “We have 12 freshmen and eight sophomores coming out, some having never played before,” Wells said. “We have a great coaching staff to help teach these new and energetic players.”
Notes: This will be a rebuilding year, according to Wells, after the Bears bid farewell to eight seniors off last season’s varsity squad.
Discovery Canyon Thunder
Coach: Mike Humphrey, 11th season
Last year: Finished ninth in the final team standings at the 4A state tournament with 11 points.
Returning athletes: Will Fiala, Jr.; Evan Gustafson, So.; Brenner Haley, So.; Thomas Klenyhans, Sr.; Landry Jones, So.; Nick Lorenz, Sr.; Caleb Trevillian, So.; Tyler Trevillian, Jr.; Mike Wonnacot, Jr.
Other top athletes: Gabe Wu, Fr.
Outlook: “I’m really excited about the depth of our team,” Humphrey said.
Notes: Lorenz, a three-time 4A state qualifier, is 26-5 in regular season play during his prep career and had only one setback last year before falling in the state semifinals to eventual runner-up Kent Moldenhauer of Kent Denver. The Thunder have nine of last season’s 11 varsity players back for 2018.
Air Academy Kadets
Coach: Matt Kiser, 5th season
Last year: Barely missed winning regional tournament, finishing just four points behind Cheyenne Mountain.
Returning athletes: Justin Brand, Sr.; Peter Cordasco, Sr.; Nick Cregan, Jr.; Jack Elbert, Sr.; Brayden White, Jr.
Outlook: “It’s another great year to grow some young men and compete at a wonderful sport,” Kiser said.
Notes: The Kadets advanced all seven positions to the state tournament last year but will have to replace all three singles spots in 2018.
Cheyenne Mountain Indians
Coach: Dave Adams, 40th season
Last year: Held off Air Academy to defend regional crown and placed third overall in the final team standings at the state tournament with 35 points.
Returning athletes: Joey Geisz, Jr.; Paul Jones, Jr.; Grant Leap, Sr.; Robbie Metz, So.; Max Schultz, Sr.; Carver Ward, So.; Bennett Ziegler, So.
Other top athletes: Oliver Muhl, Fr.
Outlook: “We are excited to see the growth in the returning players’ tennis games and what the new doubles combinations will look like.”
Notes: The Indians return over half of the 2017 varsity squad but will have to replace No. 3 singles, the top doubles team and half of the No. 2 doubles team. Cheyenne Mountain relied on its doubles play at last year’s state tournament as all four teams rebounded off losses to reach their respective third-place match, with Nos. 2-4 all coming out victorious.
Colorado Springs Christian School Lions
Coach: Bob McCall, 4th season
Last year: Went 4-5 in dual-match play.
Returning athletes: Fan Fan Chen, Sr.; Luke Davies, So.; Tony He, Sr.; Isaiah Hendrickson, So.; Julius Kang, Sr.; Jason Liu, Sr.; Mark Liu, Sr.; Joel Mortimer, So.; Dennis Oh, Sr., Eli Siu, Sr.
Outlook: “Assuming all our foreign exchange students do return, we should have a lot of fun,” McCall said. “Singles should be strong.”
Notes: As of press time, McCall’s team consists of worldly mix of players. Along with three local players, the Lions are set to have five student-athletes from China, one from Japan and another who hails from South Korea.
Coach: Tyler Philipsen, 7th season as head coach, 9th overall
Last year: Last year’s record/ championships and/or playoff appearances
Returning athletes: Noah Enoch, Sr.; Reilly Fredell, Jr.; Grayson Graham, Jr.; Nicholas Pharris, Sr.; Jackson Shaeffer, So.; Tucker Travins, Sr.; William White, So.
Outlook: “I’m excited to have a good corps of experienced players, but also to be gaining some incoming freshmen with experience who should help us out on varsity right away,” Philipsen said.
Notes: The Cougars start the new, two-year cycle in 4A, one season after going 8-1 in dual play and finishing runner-up to Pine Creek in the 5A Colorado Springs Metro League.
Sand Creek Scorpions
Coach: Pam Rogers, 1st season, 2nd overall
Last year: Went 4-6 in dual play.
Returning athletes: Alex Anspach, Jr.; Nate Blume, So.; Rian Gabat, Sr.; Isaac King, Jr.; Terrence Jones, Jr.; Danny Sharp, Sr.; Alex Yerger, Jr.
Other top athletes: Conrad Brownsberger, Fr.
Outlook: “Terrence Jones has worked hard this summer to hone his skills and strategy,” Rogers said.
Notes: Rogers, who made her Colorado Springs coaching debut with the Sand Creek girls’ tennis team earlier this year, had previously worked in Denver Public Schools in arts and physical education.
The Vanguard School Coursers
Coach: Dina Fuqua, 25th season
Last year: Went 6-2 in dual play
Returning athletes: Seth Fuqua, Sr.; James Le, Sr.; Ben Peterson, Jr.
Other top athletes: Alex Bruce, Jr.; Duncan Lewis, Sr.
Outlook: “For a very small 3A school, we will have a fairly strong team,” Fuqua said. “We may give Cheyenne Mountain and Air Academy a run at some of the positions.”
Notes: Fuqua, one of the state’s top basketball players in 3A, had a strong debut season on the court in 2017, winning 13 of 17 matches at No. 1 singles.
Coach: Stephen Portugal, 3rd season
Last year: Won five of nine duals.
Returning athletes: Jermiah Jones, Jr.; Nic Just, Sr.; Thor Young, Jr.
Other top athletes: Ethan Gillette, Sr.; Tkai Gonzales, So.; Seth Long, Sr.; Stephen Noll, Sr.; Jakob Peterson, So.
Outlook: “We have a stronger singles lineup and more interest from incoming guys who have been taught the sport over the summer,” Portugal said.
Notes: Just, who went 5-3 at No. 2 singles last season, is the team’s lone returning singles player. The Gladiators host five matches in a row from Aug. 30-Sept. 14.
Mesa Ridge Grizzlies
Coach: Lisa Felice, 13th season
Last year: Went 2-9 in dual-match play.
Returning athletes: Ryan Chapell, Sr.; Zion Dean, Sr.; Coltin Doyle, Sr.; Travis Dumas, Jr.; Jakobe Jones, Jr.; Haiden Lake, Sr.; Dax Wilson, Sr.; Isaac Wright, Sr.
Outlook: “We have a lot of seniors, which hopefully means experience and competition,” Felice said.
Coach: John Shepard, 1st season
Last year: Went 4-6 in dual play.
Returning athletes: Dominic Manzo, Sr.; PJ Olmstead, Sr.; Vicente Tapia, Sr.; Benji Troutman, Sr.; Blake Webber, Sr.
Outlook: “We hope to compete well in the CSML,” Shepard said.
Notes: The Spartans are hoping a senior-laden team can translate to more success in league play. Doherty has gone 1-5 against Metro League foes over the past two seasons.
Fountain-Fort Carson Trojans
Coach: Mary Heisel, 4th season
Last year: Went 1-8 in duals.
Returning athletes: Rashon Barron, Sr.; Evan Bertrand, Sr.; Nick Dowell, Jr.; Zane Frump, Sr.; Logan Johnson, So.; Brandon Josephson, Jr.; Danylo Pryahkin, So.; Zach Troudt, So.; Austin Waterman, Sr.
Outlook: “We have a lot of players still new to the sport, so I am excited to see the growth of the team throughout the season,” Heisel said.
Notes: The Trojans have nine letter-winners from last season and figure to be more competitive as they look to snap a 18-match CSML skid dating back to Heisel’s first year in 2015.
Coach: Brandon Dale, 4th season
Last year: Went 4-4 in dual matches.
Returning athletes: Sean Bohuslavsky, Sr.; Aiden Greene, So.; Cameron Levine, Sr.; Kyle Morse, Sr.; Darryck Schmit, Sr.; Shiloh Vega, Jr.
Outlook: “We’re hoping to develop our singles players,” Dale said.
Notes: Vega was part of a doubles team (with departed senior Kyle Bohuslavsky) that finished runner-up at regionals last year to qualify for the 5A state tournament.
Coach: Todd Nelson, 9th season
Last year: Had a 4-5 record in dual-match play.
Returning athletes: Noah Bogle, Sr.; Ethan Howard, Sr.; Gabe Hurcomb, So.; Weston Sullivan, Jr.
Other top athletes: Giles Lewis, So.; Sawyer Tankersley, So.
Outlook: “We have good athletes and good kids, and our No. 1 and No. 2 doubles players (from last season) are getting opportunities for singles spots and upgrading,” Nelson said.
Notes: Singles will be the biggest question mark for the Terrors this season with no returning players at any position.
Pine Creek Eagles
Coach: Dave Lehman, 15th season
Last year: Won Metro League title with 5-0 mark, finished second at regional and qualified five positions to 5A state tournament.
Returning athletes: Kyle Ma, So.; Luke Miller, Sr.; Porter Moody, Jr.; Tucker Shannon, So.; Nate Wilhelm, Sr.
Outlook: “Luke is coming into his own,” Lehman said. “I’m hoping he will stay healthy and have a good season, probably at No. 1 singles.”
Notes: Miller, a two-time regional champion (last year at No. 2 singles after a 12-0 regular season) seems poised to move into the No. 1 spot vacated by Bradley Ma, who graduated and departed as one of the school’s all-time best players. Meanwhile, Kyle Ma made quite a first impression at the varsity level by winning the region crown at No. 3 singles in 2017.
kevin carmody, the gazette