By Craig Harper
For the Courier
DENVER —The Evergreen tennis team doubled up at last week’s Class 4A Region 1 tournament.
After qualifying one doubles team for last year’s state tournament, the Cougars advanced a pair of their four tandems to this week’s championship at Pueblo City Park — Evan Bauer and Lucas Weidner at No. 3 and Peter Fellows and Teddy Evans at No. 4.
The latter junior/freshman duo was Evergreen’s lone representative in the finals at Colorado Academy, where the host Mustangs swept all seven titles and easily outdistanced regional newcomer Valor Christian 96-63 for the team title. The Cougars, who were second a year ago, finished third with 54 points.
It wasn’t an easy path to state for either of Evergreen’s doubles teams. Fellows and Evans, who brought a 7-3 record into the regional, finished in second place but had to weather a three-set playback match with Valor’s Blake Wynja and Jonathan Hertel. Bauer and Weidner, the team’s lone seniors, notched a pair of close wins over two teams that had beaten them badly during the regular season, capped by a 6-4, 6-4 playback win over Zac Worthing and Max McClellan of Alexander Dawson.
After a long wait necessitated by Valor’s three-set win in the third-place match, Fellows and Evans rolled 6-2 in the first set but seemed to lose their concentration in falling 3-6 in the second. They regrouped and rolled 6-2 in the final set.
“That’s kind of typical of us,’’ Fellows said. “We kind of get it in our heads that we’re doing way better than them and we kind of stop trying. Usually we come back and win the second set, but I guess we had to get our energy back and start playing like we usually play. We realized we wouldn’t make it to state if we didn’t.”
Bauer and Weidner beat Valor’s Cullen Ratkelis and Daniel Lorden 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 in the third-place match before facing Dawson in the playback.
Luke Camp at No. 2 singles was Evergreen’s only other representative in the playbacks, but the junior who began the season at No. 1, fell to Valor’s Jimmy Amundson 6-0, 6-4 after beating Dawson’s Jackson Kegel 6-3, 6-3 for third place.
“I played pretty good in both matches. But I wasn’t comfortable with my second serve today and had a lot of double faults,” Camp said.
German exchange student Dennis Von Kuckowski struggled with his first serve and lost his third-place match to Tuan Phan of John F. Kennedy, 6-1, 6-4. A win would have given Von Kuckowski a playback opportunity. Ditto for the No. 1 doubles team of Henry Raeder and Uriah Bauer and freshman Ryan Lahr at No. 3 singles, both of whom lost in straight sets.
Evergreen’s No. 2 doubles team of Jack Cuntz and Nick Johnson lost a three-setter in their third-place match.