How this team made history

The 2018 Boys Varsity Tennis Team made Colorado Academy history, bringing home CA’s first-ever win at the State Championship Tournament. CA earned the 4A title over Niwot (2nd), Cheyenne Mountain (3rd), and Kent Denver (4th).

To put this achievement in perspective, here’s a bit of history. In 1994, three CA players went to state competition for the first time. Nearly 20 years later, CA had its first individual winner at the State Championship—in 2012. The team has placed second at State for the past five years. This year, CA took the top spot, prompting Senior Will Smart to make a celebratory joke: “Bummer that we broke that second-place streak!”

The team didn’t just break that second-place record—they smashed it. In combined Regional and State matches, the Mustangs saw 42 wins and only one loss. At the State Championship, players earned 95 out of a possible 98 points. CA won six out of seven individual titles, including major wins at #1 singles and #1 doubles, neither of which CA has ever won at the State tournament.

“This team pulled together and represented the best of CA through their sportsmanship,” says Head of School Dr. Mike Davis. “Coach Brian Singer has worked so hard over the years building a quality program. He cares deeply about his players. The players obviously earned this tremendous accomplishment, but Brian provided the framework and culture that enabled this historic success.”

“We set a goal that we didn’t want any unfinished business this year,” Coach Singer says. “I could see from the look in our players’ eyes that they were determined, and they took care of business in style.”

Richter Jordaan

4A Player of the Year Richter Jordaan

The players

With Head Coach Singer (assisted by coaches Chris Mease, Doug Robinson, and Stephen Webster), CA dominated at State: Richter Jordaan (Grade 12) (#1 singles winner), Clark Steinhauser (10) ( (#2 singles winner), Braeden Thomas (11) (#3 singles winner), Caleb Aguirre (11) and Emmet Ela (12) (#1 doubles winners), Nicholas Dietrich (10) and Will Smart (12) (#2 doubles winners), Zach Brinker (12) and Bennett Liu (12) (#3 doubles finalists) and Ryan Gaghen (10) and Will Miller (12) (#4 doubles winners).

Senior Jordaan, who beat Discovery Canyon’s Nick Lorenz 6-1, 7-5, to close his career as the best 4A player in the state, gives his coach a lot of the credit. “Coach Singer knows so much about tennis,” Jordaan says. “He gives great technical advice, and he also inspires us. He convinced us to work hard and come together as a team.”

Many of the players on this team came up through the Junior Varsity and Varsity 2 Teams. “The players know that to play in Brian Singer’s tennis program they need to be exceptional and may have to wait their turn to compete on the Varsity team,” says Director of Athletics Bill Hall. “However, as evidenced by this year’s results, patience is rewarded, and the success makes it all worthwhile.”

Many of this year’s players also received State honors, including 4A Player of the Year Richter Jordaan. Coach Brian Singer was named 4A Coach of the Year. CA players named to the 4A First Team included Caleb Aguirre, Nicholas Dietrich, Emmett Ela, Ryan Gaghen, Richter Jordaan, Will Miller, Will Smart, Clark Steinhauser, and Braeden Thomas.

The program

Singer remembers setting up a small net in the CA gym in 2010 and bringing very young Lower School students to CA on weekends to learn the game of tennis. He developed a program for Middle School students, and he runs a summer tennis camp at CA. “My wife has helped me set up this program,” he says. “Our main goal is to get kids excited about coming to tennis courts and having fun playing the game.”

“It’s been great to watch the progression through the years,” says Hall. “Brian and his team are an example of resilience and hard work. We, as a community, should be proud of their accomplishments and drive.”

While Singer concedes that a State Championship is a great achievement, his greatest pleasure comes from coaching young players who may have started with him at a weekend fun session. He’s been coaching long enough now to coach the children of some of his former players. “Tennis is a game for life,” he says. “That’s how we have geared our lessons.”

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