Dave Adams has built a lot of trust at Cheyenne Mountain.
The dual coach, both boys and girls' tennis, has won multiple championships and seen several classes come and subsequently move on as better players and people.
In that time, he's developed a knack for putting together doubles pairs. Junior Tyler Blixt and senior Jackson Miller were the latest strangers to become tag-team partners.
Miller was coming off Tommy John Surgery stemming from baseball, while Blixt was still budding into a star player for the team after a standout second year. The two were a long pair — long arms, long strides and a long way to go to get to state.
The road wasn't easy, but the two did it, capturing a 4A No. 1 doubles state title and now boys' tennis peak performers of the year.
"The chemistry evolved," Adams said. "As they played, and played better, they just grew. Neither one took precedent over the other or put forth bad body language."
"All summer long, I knew they'd be great together. I thought they had a chance back in June."
That was at the beginning, before Adams had seen them compete against other teams.
By the end of the year, the two were always around one another. Naturally, they were together on the courts, but the pair also developed a friendship on the bus rides and during practices, despite their differing personalities.
They garnered comfort with each other, then came the fun parts. The Red-Tailed Hawks are known for being a supportive group, but the sentiment rang especially true for Miller and Blixt.
After every point along the way, the two made sure to high-five — a custom that was developed through their early moments playing together. Miller is the louder one, but neither shied from appreciating the other.
When they squared off with Kent Denver and Colorado Academy — two of the top eventual finishers at state — they used it as a measuring stick.
Close matches gave lessons, and those same lessons came in handy months later when the duo upended Kent Denver in straight sets in the finals. Even in practice, the doubles teams across the roster competed with one another.
"We started just winning and winning," Blixt said. "It worked out quick. Once the first couples matches were over, we hit our stride.
"After our match with Kent Denver in the regular season, we really started to think we had a chance at a title."
The two figured out that Miller's dominant serves would be a great partner with Blixt's at-the-net prowess. Their weaknesses and strengths tangled together nicely.
From the Kent Denver win on, Blixt and Miller dropped just one match to 5A Valor Christian's top doubles at the Pueblo South Invitational.
Eventually, the pair even swept through state without going to a third set across four matches. At regionals, the same was true.
"Chemistry is so important," Adams said. "You can have two great tennis players who can't play doubles together at all. They lack that chemistry.
"Tyler and Jackson worked together perfectly. They gained a lot of confidence, got more consistent and it's one of those things coaches love to see."
Next time two strangers walk into a room, watch Adams' mind work. He just may enable them to win another title — and who could doubt him? Blixt will be right back to square one to start his fourth year with Miller graduating.
This year showed, as long as you form a bond, anything is possible between strangers.
Air Academy senior Javier Aznar Villagarcia
Cheyenne Mountain junior Steven Zhou
Doherty senior Vaughn Biggs
Palmer Ridge sophomore Ian Capek
Pine Creek junior Jackson Zenner
Cheyenne Moutain senior Connor Kofford and junior Johnson Peng
Air Academy sophomore Asher Kiser and freshman Luke Brooks