Ollie Muhl couldn't control his excitement.

He threw down his racket, screamed and jumped around with his Cheyenne Mountain boys' tennis teammates. This was during Saturday's Class 4A state tournament in Pueblo, just minutes after the freshman got revenge on Kent Denver junior Trent Beckman, outlasting him 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 to take third place at No. 3 singles.

The win also handed the Indians (45) just enough points to finish third place in the team standings over Kent Denver (43).

"I kind of rubbed it in a little bit, and I shouldn't have," Muhl said of his celebration, "but it felt really good to come back and win it for my team."

His clutch play helped him land this week's Gazette Preps Peak Performer honor.

Muhl entered Saturday's match knowing Beckman had beaten him before — on Sept. 27. So this was Muhl's chance to earn redemption, and he didn't disappoint.

He even got the win despite his teammate, Konrad Ziegler, telling him between plays that he needed to win in order for the Indians to get third. By then, Colorado Academy and Niwot had already secured the two top spots.

His Cheyenne Mountain teammates had done their parts.

This included junior Paul Jones capturing third place at No. 2 singles and No. 2 Carver Ward and Max Schultz and No. 3 Bennett and Konrad Ziegler, who are brothers, winning third place in their respective doubles brackets.

Knowing all this, Muhl didn't collapse under the pressure.

He did the opposite.

He beat Beckman and celebrated.

"I thought he competed really well," Indians coach Dave Adams said. "I think he did a great job of being fired up and being competitive and intense as far as staying focused mentality. He had great spirit."

"I was very happy for him," he added.

And the performance comes from a freshman who has been around tennis his entire life. He started the sport around age 5, thanks to parents who competed at the college level. His dad, Eli Muhl, played at Kansas and his mom, Rebecca Berg, competed at Johnson County Community College in Kansas.

His dad even played one summer on the pro circuit.

When Ollie Muhl started tennis, he didn't particularly like it. But eventually, he grew to love the sport. And by elementary school, he eliminated a half-dozen other sports from his life and just focused on tennis.

Now, he believes his state tournament performance will only propel his prep career. And he wants to do that by challenging everyone he plays.

"I want to prove to my opponent that I'm never going to give up," said Muhl, who finished with a 10-5 record. "I'll get to almost everything and I think that gets to my opponent's head that they're going to really have to grind it out to beat me."


Just the Facts

Oliver Muhl, Cheyenne Mountain

Sport: Boys’ tennis

Year: Freshman

Favorite athlete: Rafael Nadal

Favorite movies: Hereditary

Favorite sports team: University of Kansas basketball

Favorite musician: 6ix9ine

Favorite school subject: Economics

Highlights: After losing in the No. 3 singles semifinals, Muhl bounced back through the Class 4A state tournament playbacks with two victories and took third place. His win over Kent Denver junior Trent Beckman gave the Indians enough points to capture third in the team standings.


Other Peak Performers

Cross country

Ryan Outler, Widefield

The senior had the top finish in the Class 5A/4A divisions of the Colorado Springs Metro League championships last week, clocking in a time of 16 minutes, 20.40 seconds.

Madeline Morland, Coronado

The senior led the way for the Cougars, winning the girls' 5A race at the CSML meet in 19:38.20. Morland is expected to continue leading a Coronado team that took 12th at the 5A state meet last season.


Payton Kaiser, Vista Ridge

The senior quarterback completed 5 of 12 passes for 138 yards and three touchdowns in a 59-7 win over Cheyenne Mountain last Saturday. He also rushed for a score to led the Wolves to their first win in three games.

Evan Walsh, Lewis-Palmer

The senior running back carried Lewis-Palmer to a 42-24 win over Lutheran last Friday, finishing with 307 yards and four touchdowns on 37 rushes. It was the first time this season he broke the 300-yard barrier.

Boys' soccer

Connor Timmins, St. Mary's

The senior exploded for four goals and one assist in a win over Ellicott last Saturday. His efforts helped the Pirates earn their first win in three games en route to a 7-5-2 overall record.


Morgan Trechter, St. Mary's

The junior had seven RBIs in two regional tournament games last Saturday, including slamming a three-run home run in a 12-3 loss to University. The Pirates topped Burlington 15-0 in the first contest to advance to the state tournament.


Trinity Jackson, Lewis-Palmer

The senior issued 14 kills in two big wins over Sand Creek and Discovery Canyon last week. In the latter match, Jackson had nine kills, nine digs, two aces and one block.

Charlie Tidwell, Colorado Springs Christian School

The junior had 23 kills in wins over Buena Vista and Atlas Prep last week. It was the fourth and fifth consecutive time that Tidwell racked up at least 10 kills.

Chhun Sun is a sports reporter with an emphasis in preps. He joined The Gazette in April 2015 and covered public safety for three years before joining @gazettepreps staff. The Thailand-born Cambodian-American has been in journalism for nearly two decades.

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