Ni­wot earns 4A state ti­tle

Wil­cox de­liv­ers, We­ber also a sin­gles champ

Daily Camera (Boulder) - - Sports - By Dan Mohrmann

PUEBLO — Aimee Kero­nen had a lit­tle juice in her step Satur­day as she ven­tured back down to Court 1 at Pueblo City Park. The Ni­wot as­sis­tant coach was try­ing to track the big pic­ture of the Class 4A boys ten­nis tour­na­ment while other coaches tended to the play­ers. Of all the things that needed to go Ni­wot’s way it was Cheyenne Moun­tain’s win over Mullen in No. 1 dou­bles that was the most im­por­tant.

And when Cheyenne Moun­tain emerged vic­to­ri­ous, Ni­wot’s quest for its first boys ten­nis cham­pi­onship rested on the shoul­ders of its top player.

A Neil Wil­cox win in No. 1 sin­gles and the Cougars are champs.

“My math is right, isn’t it”? she said to no one in par­tic­u­lar.

“If it’s not, then nei­ther of us can count,” some­one replied.

The math proved to be right as Wil­cox knocked off Gree­ley West sopho­more Nico Jami­son to re­peat as the top sin­gles cham­pion and also give the Cougars the 4A team ti­tle.

“I had no idea un­til I walked off the court after my match,” Wil­cox said. “Ev­ery­one was scream­ing and I just looked at them and asked what hap­pened. When they told me, I couldn’t be­lieve it.”

In hind­sight, the math

was pretty easy. All Ni­wot needed was a win in No. 1 and No. 3 sin­gles and a Mullen loss in No. 1 dou­bles. Cheyenne Moun­tain, last year’s team cham­pion, hadn’t ad­vanced any sin­gles play­ers to fi­nals and also missed out on ad­vanc­ing its No. 3 dou­bles team.

Mullen had a chance to gain some ground at No. 2 sin­gles, but also needed wins in No. 1 and 3 dou­bles to en­sure a state ti­tle.

The Cougars just put their heads down and tried to take care of their own busi­ness. Luke We­ber got the win in No. 3 sin­gles by knock­ing off Aspen’s Chase Kelly 6-2, 6-2.

“I wanted to take him out early,” We­ber said. “I knew in or­der to have a shot at the state ti­tle for the team I had to come up clutch. And Neil had to win his for sure. I’m su­per happy that I won, and we got enough points to do it.”

Wil­cox started his day with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Long­mont’s Henry Mathe­son be­fore ad­vanc­ing to face Jami­son, who broke Wil­cox’s serve in the first game and went on to take the first set in a tiebreaker.

That’s noth­ing new for Wil­cox — who dropped his first set last year to Cheyenne Moun­tain’s Joey Geisz. And like last year, Wil­cox came back and dom­i­nated the next two sets 6-1, 6-2 to end his ca­reer at Ni­wot as the best No. 1 sin­gles player in the state.

“I feel like I earned this one a lot more than I did last year,” Wil­cox said. “Joey Geisz was a great player, but I’ve known Nico Jami­son for a re­ally long time and he’s put in a lot of work.”

Ni­wot’s No. 2 dou­bles team of Xavier Moy and Alan Wil­cox ad­vanced to the state cham­pi­onship match, but lost 6-1, 6-3 to Cheyenne Moun­tain’s Carver Ward and Miles Hoover.

This year’s for­mat was slightly ad­justed due to COVID-19, but NHS head coach Mikka Kero­nen doesn’t think things would’ve ended any dif­fer­ently had this been any other year.

“Ev­ery boy who lost, lost to some­one who went to the fi­nals,” he said. “I think the score would’ve been the same be­cause ev­ery­one would have been in play­backs. But I will say this was more pres­sure and I kind of liked it.”

Which is a bit of an un­der­state­ment. When his team got their hands on the cham­pi­onship tro­phy, he loved it.

Dan Mohrmann / For Bo­co­

Ni­wot’s Neil Wil­cox bat­tles dur­ing his No. 1 sin­gles cham­pi­onship match against Gree­ley West’s Nico Jami­son dur­ing the Class 4A state tour­na­ment Satur­day in Pueblo. Wil­cox de­fended his ti­tle from a year ago, and his vic­tory pushed Ni­wot past Cheyenne Moun­tain and Mullen for the over­all team ti­tle.


Ni­wot’s Luke We­ber reaches for a re­turn at­tempt dur­ing his No. 3 sin­gles cham­pi­onship match at the Class 4A state tour­na­ment in Pueblo on Satur­day. We­ber de­feated Aspen’s Chase Kelly for the state ti­tle.

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