Boys tennis in Fort Collins has seen increased respect state-wide over the last couple of years.
The growth of the Fossil Ridge High School boys tennis team has been a big part of that, but not to be overlooked is how strong the Fort Collins team is.
Fossil Ridge qualified every position and finished sixth overall at state in 2013. Fort Collins finished second at its regional and qualified nine of 11 players for state.
Here are three things to watch this tennis season.
Can Fossil Ridge threaten Cherry Creek?
The question across Colorado every year is if someone can knock off Cherry Creek.
The Bruins have won three-straight titles and 22 in coach Kirk Price’s 24 years as coach. With five returning seniors in Lucas Martin, Kevin Schultz, Max Weiner, Scott Sunset and David DeFrancia, the SaberCats are loaded.
Knocking Cherry Creek off its perch would take close to a perfect storm at the state tournament, but Fossil Ridge is good enough to be in the conversation for one of the top teams in the state.
Can Fort Collins get into the top eight?
After finishing second at regionals last year, Fort Collins is looking to go one better this year.
Also, even though they sent nine athletes to the state tournament, the Lambkins were unable to score any points.
This year—led by stars Jeremiah Gattas and C.J. Moddelmog—Fort Collins is aiming for a top-eight finish at state.
It would be a big step up, but it’s not out of reach for the Lambkins.
Will other locals teams take a step forward?
Rocky Mountain, Poudre and Windsor (4A) all finished fourth at their regionals. Rocky Mountain and Windsor failed to send anyone to state.
Poudre’s No. 3 doubles team of Spencer Zweifel and Josh Goddard made the tournament before being knocked out by Fruita Monument in the first round.
Rocky Mountain and Poudre have a tough road to try and catch Fossil Ridge and Fort Collins, but the competition in the city will serve them well in their growth.
Windsor is replacing seven seniors and is looking to rebuild with a strong crop of freshman as the Wizards aim for a fourth-straight Tri-Valley Conference title.
Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle at twitter.com/Kevin_Lytle and at facebook.com/KevinSLytle.