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Air Academy's Ryan, Sheldon win No. 4 doubles state title
PUEBLO - Air Academy's Matt Ryan and Michael Sheldon came back from a set down to win the state title at No. 4 doubles with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory over Colorado Academy's Zach Turner and Will McDermid.
“It's unbelieveable, Ryan said. “We've been fighting all year, never got down on each other, always had great chemistry and we ended up pulling it out in the end.”
That result was in doubt after they dropped the first set.
“We were still pretty confident,” Sheldon said. “I think we knew we weren't playing to our full potential in that first set and we just brought it in the second and third.”
Kings are the Mountain
By winning six of its seven matches Saturday, Cheyenne Mountain ran away with the team title with 80 points. Niwot finished second with 57 points, followed by Colorado Academy (52), Kent Denver (49) and Air Academy (43).
Besides winning titles at No. 3 singles and Nos. 1 and 3 doubles, the Indians also notched wins in the playback finals at No. 1 singles (Stephen Moore), No. 2 singles (Billy Fielding) and No. 4 doubles (Robbie Boe and Will Geisz).
Cheyenne Mountain's only loss came in the championship match at No. 2 doubles, where Matt Clancy and Nathaniel Rocks were edged in a three-set match by Colorado Academy's Mac Mease and Noah Forman.
“We wish like crazy that those guys at No. 2 could have done it but they ran into a buzzsaw,” Cheyenne Mountain coach Dave Adams said. “(Mease and Forman) played as well as I've seen them ever play; that's how it works sometimes.”
Discovery Canyon won the tournament Sportsmanship Award, which is voted upon by officials and coaches. The Thunder was represented by Luke Lorenz (No. 1 singles), Brandon Nachbar (No. 2 singles) and Baylor May (No. 3 singles).
Air Academy won the award in 2011.
Colorado Springs was well represented Saturday, with 13 of the 28 top-four positions coming from area schools.
Aside from the seven from Cheyenne Mountain (four in the finals and three in the playback finals), Air Academy had finalists in No. 3 singles and No. 4 doubles as well as playback finalists at Nos. 2 and 3 doubles. The other two were from Discovery Canyon, which was in the playback finals at Nos. 1 and 2 singles.
Upset at No. 1
Harrison Lang of Niwot pulled off what many considered the upset of the tournament when he knocked off defending state champion David Mitchell of Kent Denver at No. 1 singles.
“I just played really well today,” Lang said. “That's all I can say.”
Mitchell became Colorado's first freshman male to win the No. 1 singles spot when he beat Lang in three sets at last year's state tournament. Saturday, Lang evened the score with a 6-4, 6-2 win.
“The first set was really tough,” the senior said. "We had some long games going back-and-forth.
“Once I got the first set, I think it rattled him a little bit and I got off to a really good start in the second set.”