Boy's State Tennis Fall 2021

D'Evelyn Boy's Tennis Wins Vicky Matarazzo Sportsmanship Award
Posted on 10/16/2021
This is the image for the news article titled D'Evelyn Boy's Tennis Wins Vicky Matarazzo Sportsmanship AwardPUEBLO – Alongside the palpable excitement of the team race, which ended in the first tie between Kent Denver and Cheyenne Mountain since 1999, there were three individual champions and four doubles champions crowned on the final day of the 4A boys tennis state championships Saturday afternoon, Oct. 16, at the Pueblo City Park Tennis Complex.
 
Freshman phenom Nathan Gold of Kent Denver finished off his incredible weekend with a quick two-set sweep of D’Evelyn’s sophomore Aswaanth Karuppasamy, 6-3, 6-1, in the No. 1 singles state title match. The young Gold was flawless almost all weekend, as he did not drop a set, and his closest was a 6-4 win in the semifinals.
 
“It feels really good (to win), especially since I had my brothers here to watch me too,” Gold exclaimed.
 
There could be a future rivalry brewing between the pair of young tennis stars, as both will have multiple seasons left to compete at this level.
 
“He’s one of the better players in Colorado,” Gold continued. “It was great to beat him because we’re always battling when we play, so that felt good.”
 
Another crucial singles match, which helped decide that tie at the top of the team standings, came at No. 3 singles, where Cheyenne Mountain junior Steven Zhou won a three-set battle over Niwot’s Alan Wilcox, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2. Without Zhou’s critical three points there, the team trophy would have been headed back exclusively to Denver.
 
“I’m so happy,” Zhou exclaimed after winning the match. “I kind of had a cold streak this past spring, but I got into a rhythm when the fall season started and everything fell into place for me personally, all the shots fell into place.”
 
The final individual singles match was contested between Niwot’s LiChen Laio and George Washington’s Owen Duffy. It wound up being another quick match, as Laio, a sophomore, took the match 6-1, 6-3. Like Gold, Laio did not drop a set all weekend.
 
“I came into the first set not thinking anything because I knew (Duffy) was a really good player, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Laio explained. “I just stuck to my game and was able to win the first set, and then just continued to play my game in the second set and came it came through for me.”
 
Not to be outdone, much of the jockeying for team position came on the four doubles courts, as there were two head-to-head matchups between Kent Denver and Cheyenne Mountain. The Red-Tailed Hawks wound up winning both No. 1 Doubles and No. 3 Doubles to help in that team championship effort.
 
At No. 1 Doubles, the duo of Jackson Miller and Tyler Blixt won gold, while at No. 3 the final match of the day to seal the tie, it was Connor Kofford and Johnson Peng. No. 2 doubles went to Kent Denver’s Jack Cramer and Mareks Zeile, while the only doubles champions not to come from those two schools was at No. 4 with Colorado Academy’s Davis Johnson and Charlie Rakowski.

As is tradition at each state tournament, the Vicky Matarazzo Sportsmanship Award was also handed out to acknowledge the team with standout sportsmanship through the course of the event. The award is voted on by coaches throughout the weekend.
 
This year's recipient was D’Evelyn, who showed respect to each opponent and gratitude toward tournament staff and tournament director Ed Francis.
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