(Second in a series of fall previews for 2019).
They’re loaded, tested, experienced and quite hungry.
So, yes, Mullen enters the 2019 boys tennis season full of promise and with the objective of winning a Class 4A state title.
“Yeah,” third-year coach Jacob Ohrman said, “I hope we can win it all this year. I think we’re definitely one of the favorites going in.”
The Mustangs, fifth a year ago at the state tournament in Pueblo and who were young and coming in recent seasons, now are juniors and seniors, and nine of 11 singles and doubles spots return.
With playoffs for positions to come this week, George Henry Hanzel returns at No. 1 singles. He’s a junior. Another junior, Mac Caldwell, is back from No. 2 singles. And Tanner Amman, who played at No. 3 singles a year ago, also returns.
Of the eight doubles players, six are back, notably J.P. Starkey, a senior, and Dante Dino, a junior. Senior Coleman Guthrie is back from No. 2 doubles; Luc Caldwell is back from No. 3 doubles; and junior Greg McMullan and senior Charlie Manta return from No. 4 doubles.
In addition, promising freshman Jack Barker will be bidding for one of the two open spots.
Some 68 Mustangs made appearances in tryouts and Ohrman said he will have to cut for the first time because “we just can’t handle any more.”
More good news is that the Mullen schedule will be challenging with regular-season play in the 5A Centennial League that will include a match against Cherry Creek as well as each of the top four finishers at 4A state from 2018.
“It helps us,” Ohrman said, “and it’s what we have to do to get better.”
First up for the Mustangs is an away match on Thursday, Aug. 22, at Air Academy and the regular season will wrap with another roadie, at Overland in Aurora on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
Regionals will be completed by Oct. 12 and the state matches will be Oct. 17-19.