Net victory: A large one at Niwot

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
'Stangs take down power Niwot to close regular season.

The glee and sense of accomplishment may have been tempered … but just a little bit.

“I think we would have been even more surprised if we hadn’t already started before and we were up in almost every match,” Mullen boys tennis head coach Jacob Ohrman said.

Still, Mullen’s 5-2 decision on Wednesday at Niwot, the 2018 Class 4A runner-up and definitely one of the favorites for this year’s tournament that will be held later this month, was huge. It
certainly will help its seeding and from confidence and psychological standpoints, it’s invaluable.

Counting recent victories by Varsity II, Mullen completed its regular season 11-2 in dual meets, won the Kadet Court Kickoff and Greeley West Invitational, and was second of four teams in the Longmont Round Robin.

The dual losses were to perennial powers and champions Cherry Creek (5A) and Cheyenne Mountain (4A), but downing the Cougars was a season highlight.

“This was a big one,” Ohrman said of the match that began last month, but had to be resumed Wednesday after lightning problems forced a postponement. “Clearly, we had the deeper team from (No.) 2 (singles) to (No.) 4 (doubles) … we pretty much cruised.”

At No. 2 singles, George Henry Hanzel won 6-4, 6-4. The Mustangs then dominated doubles with No. 1 J.P. Starkey-Coleman Guthrie 6-7 (6-8), 6-2, 7-5; No. 2 Greg McMullan-Jack Barker 6-4, 6-3; No. 3 Charlie Manta-Luc Caldwell 7-5, 6-1; and No. 4 Roman Fresquez-Kevin McGuire 6-4, 6-1 handling their business in an assortment of ways.

No. 1 singles Mac Caldwell lost 6-0, 6-1 to the Cougars’ highly regarded Neil Wilcox, a player Ohrman said is the favorite to win state, and No. 3 Tanner Amman lost 6-2, 2-6, 4-6.

Niwot also was 10-0 in duals entering the match.

“We’re right where we need to be,” Ohrman said.

And that’s to be ready for regionals – Mullen will host 4A Region 3 Oct. 10-11 at nearby Pinehurst Country Club. The Mustangs will be competing against Conifer, Evergreen, Littleton, Northfield and
George Washington.

Not only will the Mustangs be looking to advance at all seven spots, but Dante Dino, No. 3 singles player, may be able to return from a torn calf muscle.

If he makes it back, Ohrman said, the Mustangs will go back to their original lineup of the season – Mac Caldwell and Hanzel at the top two singles; Dino at No. 3 singles; Starkey-Amman at No. 1 doubles; Guthrie-Barker at No. 2 doubles; McMullan-Manta at No. 3 doubles; and Luc Caldwell-McGuire at No. 4 doubles.

However, ending the regular season on a note that included downing Niwot couldn;t have been better, Ohrman said.

“We got rolled by (the Cougars) last year,” he said. “For us to go in there and roll them in the back, that’s the biggest surprise.”