Boys’ Tennis Wins 45th State Championship


Courtesy of Amy Hutchins

Varsity Boys Tennis team poses after their victory over Valor Christian at the 5A State Championship.

Avery Hutchins, Staff Writer

Cherry Creek’s boys’ tennis team has continued their dominance in the state tournament this season, despite injuries and sickness plaguing their season.

Cherry Creek played Valor Christian in the boy’s tennis state championship on Oct. 14 and 18 at City Park.

“We are fortunate to have a very deep and disciplined program that provides us with an ample opportunity to substitute well-trained and dedicated players,” Head Coach Art Quinn said.

Creek needed to alter their line several times during the season. Senior Zach Hayutin’s devastating injury towards the end of the regular season caused three of Creek’s doubles lines to be altered heading into the postseason. This was an uncommon bump in the road for the players.

“I think through team dinners and team events outside of practice, we were able to bond and just strengthen our connections and chemistry,” junior Trey Zurcher said.

Zurcher is one of quite a few players on the team that missed a match due to sickness or another conflict, and these absences caused the team dynamic to change, forcing them to find a way to band together.

“[Senior] Drew Kaprielian came in as the alternate and assimilated himself quickly into the team dynamic,” Quinn said.

Creek’s alternate got quite a lot of playing time on V1 this year, and with Hayutin’s injury, an additional alternate got added to the mix, switching up the team dynamic once more. 

“At the moment we went into the State tournament, we were poised for success,” Quinn said.

With their lineups still getting altered going into Regionals and with States being right around the corner, Creek needed to find a way through their unexpected setbacks together as a team. They managed to figure it out going into the State championship and came out victorious once again.

“Going into the new team championships, we would have already won as a team in the individual finals without the altered rules for deciding the winner,” Zurcher said.

With the individual winners and the team winners being determined in a different way this year, Creek still found a way to succeed. The old format only required one day of match play and determined the individual winners through bracket play. However, the team winners were determined by a point system based on the result of each player’s matches. 

“I think that winning the individual championship gave us a lot of confidence going into the team state championship,” sophomore Charlie Stern said.

With the new format, the individual championships were on a Friday, the day before fall break, with the team championship being on the following Tuesday. Most of the matches in the individual finals were Creek against Valor. Playing Valor in the individual finals helped a lot of the players on the Creek team, preparing them for the team finals, although not absolving all of the pressure on the boy’s.

“One of the hardest parts about the season was living up to the name of being a Cherry Creek Varsity Tennis player,” Zurcher said.

Creek had won 4 out of the seven individual lines leading up to the team championship, but there was still a ton of pressure on the guys for a satisfactory finish.

“There was a lot more energy, positive cheering, and pressure, but the real focus was on the task at hand,” Quinn said.

Most of the matches against Valor were competitive, and Valor’s team had a lot of depth, resulting in a little bit of added pressure leading up to the team finals. Through all this, Cherry Creek boys’ tennis did remarkably well this season, winning their 45th State Championship out of the 51 years that it has been run.