Things didn't go as expected for Dave Adams and his Cheyenne Mountain girls' tennis team this season.
The Indians finished second at the Class 4A state tournament, ending their streak of nine straight championships.
But was finishing as state runner-up a bad thing? Nope, not at all.
"I told them you all need to hold your head up high," said Adams, who earned The Gazette Preps 2018 Girls' Tennis Coach of the Year honor. "You competed as hard as you could and they really exceeded my expectations in a number of spots."
This was the message he relayed to the girls after they finished behind Niwot, which won five final titles, including three in doubles. Cheyenne Mountain had two winners -- in No. 2 singles Corey Patton Lossner and No. 1 doubles Taylor Heinicke and Jensen Enterman.
It wasn't all about championships, the Indians said. It's also about improving and developing, and that was the message that their coach kept passing on throughout the season.
"We aren't guaranteed to win every year and we saw that this year," Lossner said. "We don't really talk about state too much. It's always about being better and improving for our next match or improving for just that day. We always try to focus on getting better each day rather than trying to have an end goal. ... (Our coach) never really talks about whether we're going to win state this year. It's more about preparing as well as we can."
The Indians lose three seniors, but they're determined be state contenders again next season. Their return includes No. 1 singles player Morgan Hall and No. 3 singles Ariana Arenson, who finished in the top three in their respective position this past season.
"I'm excited because I hope we have a little bit of fire lit underneath us to get back," Adams said. "I just love the challenge and I think our girls do, too. We have high goals and we all want to embrace that challenge of trying to reclaim that top spot in the state."
Adams was also named The Gazette Preps Boys' Tennis Coach of the Year in the fall.