PUEBLO - Cheyenne Mountain’s No. 2 singles player Danny Colten knew each swing of his racket was more important than the last. Colten was embroiled in a second-set tiebreaker in the semifinals of the boys’ Class 4A state tennis tournament Friday at Pueblo City Park. He would either beat Steamboat Springs’ Ramsey Bernard and qualify for today’s championship match, or try his luck in the playback rounds. Trailing 3-0 in the tiebreaker, Colten didn’t know that a victory meant Cheyenne Mountain would mathematically secure its 12th state team title in 14 seasons. Cheyenne Mountain’s coaching staff had tabulated that fact, and word quickly spread through a crowd that had gathered to watch and cheer for Colten. A senior whose playback loss on the second day of the tournament last season eliminated the Indians from championship contention, Colten concentrated on ending his match in two sets. “I just tried to take my time getting back to the court, just breathe and try to focus,” Colten said. Bernard had him all but beaten twice in the tiebreaker. But Colten fought back with a forehand winner to take a 9-8 lead, then forced Bernard to miss long on the baseline and won 6-4, 7-6 (8). The player whose loss last season ended Cheyenne Mountain’s chance at the team title essentially won it for the Indians this year. “I thought about that (over the summer),” Colten said. “I thought I’d be playing No. 1 singles, so I worked really hard. I think the things I learned prepared me for this match.” For the first time in team history, Cheyenne Mountain will send all seven flights to today’s championship finals. It is a feat the Indians had worked hard for. Cheyenne Mountain has one of the most storied tennis programs in the state. The Indians won 11 consecutive team championships from 1992 to 2002. But archrival Kent Denver captured the crown each of the past two seasons. The Indians played like a team determined to take it back. “We’ve learned that if we want to win state, that’s something that isn’t going to happen by itself, we have to make it happen,” Colten said. Colten will play Kent Denver’s Graham Ely in the finals. Cheyenne Mountain’s No. 1 singles player Daniel Moore, who transferred from Japan this summer, stormed by Mullen’s Chris Peck in the semifinals 6-0, 6-1. He’ll play Broomfield’s Branden Lupo for the state title. “Getting Daniel Moore made a bigger difference than I thought,” Cheyenne Mountain coach Dave Adams said. “I didn’t know he’d play No. 1 and I didn’t know he’d do it successfully. The trickle-down effect has made us so much better.” Adams could only shake his head when he considered that his team had won the threeday state tournament by 11:15 a.m. on the second day. Few coaches know what it is like to win 11 consecutive state championships and then be eliminated from contention on the second day and finish second in consecutive seasons. “To not be able to play for it on the last day, that’s hard,” Adams said. “But everybody really wanted it this year and this is a very deep team.” Pine Creek’s Ashton Kalhorn surged through the playback bracket and will play Peck for third place in No. 1 singles. CONTACT THE WRITER: 636-0260 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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