M-CHS tennis finishes season at regionals
A tremendous start to the year, a rough stretch through the middle of the season, a huge individual upset and a strong finish shaped the 2013 season for the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers’ tennis team.
Concluding their season in Grand Junction at the 4A Region XIII tournament, the Panthers played well, yet failed to send any players to state, finishing fifth behind Aspen, Durango, Steamboat and Vail.
Wrapping up his impressive high school career, No. 1 singles player and senior captain Logan Dean lost a tight match to Corbin Diehl of Steamboat Springs, 3-6, 4-6.
Although Dean’s loss was disappointing, the year as a whole was a good one for the senior, who produced one of the year’s most exciting moments with his upset win over Fruita Monument’s Matt Harris.
“(Dean) is very likely one of the top-20 4A players in the state of Colorado,” wrote Panthers head coach Dan Wood in an email to the Cortez Journal.
Also concluding his high school career, No. 2 singles player Graham Cathey, whose season highlights included a first-place finish in the Delta Tournament, finished fourth in the region after defeating Steamboat’s Troy Delong in three sets, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
“There was plenty of applause from the enthusiastic audience supporting both teams,” wrote Wood, describing Cathey’s final high school match.
At No. 3 singles, Panthers senior Si Eckart concluded his high school career with a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Vail’s No. 3 singles player.
Nearly qualifying for state at No. 1 doubles, Panthers seniors Todd Underwood and Ford Wegner began the regional tournament with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Montrose, subsequently lost to Steamboat 1-6, 2-6 and then came back to beat Vail 7-6 (7-1), (7-5).
With a trip to the state tournament on the line, the seniors’ season would end in disappointing fashion with a tough loss to Durango.
“I really enjoyed listening to the crowd cheer (Underwood) and (Wegner) on to victory and watching them play as a team,” wrote Wood.
In the No. 2 doubles tournament, the Panthers’ duo of Samir Berrada and Xavier Eddy had a tough day, losing 1-6, 0-6 to Aspen before being eliminated by Hotchkiss.
At No. 3 doubles, Tyler Daniel and Wyatt Yates beat Montrose 7-6, 6-2, defeated Vail 7-6, 6-2 and then lost to Durango 1-6, 4-6 with a state tournament berth on the line.
Falling victim to a tough opening round draw, the Panthers’ No. 4 doubles duo of Noah Porter and Cody Canzona bowed out quickly, losing to Durango 2-6, 4-6 in the opening round.
Sharing his impression of his team’s play during the Region VIII tournament, Wood wrote, “I was disappointed with the results, but very happy with the performance of the boys. They exhibited sportsmanship, determination and perseverance throughout the tournament.”
With their season now complete, the Panthers, who will lose seven seniors to graduation, will soon begin building for next year.