The Seward County Tennis Team went into their weekend competition at the Metro State Invitational in Denver as the only junior college program in a field filled with NCAA Division II foes. The Saints came out of the weekend as the only team with five championships, winning titles at #1 women’s singles, #1 men’s singles, #1 women’s doubles, #1 men’s doubles, and #2 men’s singles to wrap up one of the finest weekend’s in program history.

On the men’s side of things, the Saints were simply put, dominate. In the Flight 1 singles draw, Seward sent Bethany Invitational Champion Ronzai Saurombe and Wichita Intercollegiate Champion Alejandro Gonzalez to the court. In early morning battles, both Saurombe and Gonzalez took a little bit of time to get warmed up, but each came away with wins, Saurombe a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Spencer Weinberg of Colorado Mesa and Gonzalez a 7-5, 6-1 win over Nick Baker of Metro State to move to the second round. Gonzalez cruised in the second round, losing just one game in a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Le Trung of Colorado State-Pueblo while Saurombe had to battle Josh Graetz of Metro State to a 7-5 win in the first before blowing him out 6-1 in the second set to move to the semis. Playing nearly flawless tennis, Saurombe breezed to the finals with a 6-1, 6-2 victory against a frustrated Brandon Beardsley of Montana State-Billings, who after the match exclaimed to his coach that “there was nowhere he could hit a shot that Saurombe didn’t cover.” Gonzalez took an early 3-2 lead on Christian Fischer, also of Montana State-Billings in his semifinal match, but the much more experienced Fischer came back to send the first set to a tiebreaker which he won 7-5 before ending Gonzalez’s tournament run with a 6-4 win in the second set to take the match. After some snide remarks by Fischer to Gonzalez’s Saints teammates there cheering him on following the match, Saurombe knew he was playing for more than just a championship in the final. Saurombe wasted no time in getting revenge for his teammate and good friend Gonzalez, pounding Fischer 6-1 in the first set before doing the same in the second to capture the title in what was at no point a competitive match. Saurombe wins his second straight tournament championship while Gonzalez, playing self-admittedly without his ‘A’ game, finished 3rd.
Trevor Kipping and Brandon Kafarela represented the Saints in the Flight 2 draw. Kipping was victorious in his first match of the weekend, taking down David Horner of Colorado Christian 6-2, 6-0 to move to the second round. Kafarela had a different fate as he split the first two sets 6-4, 3-6 with Trent Delehanty of Colorado College before losing a heartbreaker 7-6 (8-6) in the deciding third set to eliminate him from championship play. Kipping continued to play well on day one of the tournament, downing John Qualls of Metro State 6-3, 6-4 in the quarters while Kafarela’s tough day got worse as he fell 6-2, 6-0 to John Evangelista of Metro State in the first round of the consolation bracket. On Saturday Kipping woke up ready to go once again. Taking on Alex Moncayo of Colorado State-Pueblo, Kipping quickly took an advantage with a 6-2 first set win before hanging on to win the second 7-6 in a tiebreak to reach his first tournament final in his young Seward County career. Kafarela was unable to pick up a win on the weekend, falling 6-4, 6-2 to Eric DeRomas of Montana State-Billings in the consolation bracket 5th place match to finish his tournament in 7th place. A determined Kipping took on Cody Freischlag of Colorado Mesa in the Flight 2 Championship match and again took control of the match with a 6-2 first set win. The second set was another battle for the Seward rookie, but Kipping was up to the take, downing Freischlag 7-6 to win the match and the tournament to become the Flight 2 Champion.
Due to injuries and no-shows, there wasn’t a whole lot of action in the Flight 3 singles for Saints players Adrian Amado and Colin Glassman. Amado picked up a default win in his first match with Jose DeSilveria of Colorado State-Pueblo while Glassman tried valiantly to battle through a knee injury before falling 6-1, 6-1 to Caleb Gartner of Colorado College. Amado lost 6-0, 6-1 in the quarterfinal round to Jon Casson of Colorado Mesa and picked up another default win in the 5th place match against Lucas Bruns of Colorado College. Glassman was unable to continue his tournament because of injury and defaulted to Duncan Alger of Colorado Mesa in the consolation bracket.
Seward sent three duo’s to the court in doubles action, Kipping/Kafarela and Saurombe/Gonzalez in Flight 1 and Amado/Glassman in Flight 2. Amado/Glassman’s run was short lived as they were blanked in the opening round 8-0 by Lundstrom/Evangelista of Metro State while Kipping/Kafarela suffered a similar fate despite a hard fought battle against Lyden/Weinberg of Colorado Mesa as they fell 8-6 in a tight one to end their doubles chances. Saurombe/Gonzalez had everything working though in their Flight 1 matches. In the first round they faced a stiff task in Fischer/DeRomas of Montana State-Billings, but held serve late in the match to win 8-5 to advance to the second round. In the quarters their road was much easier as they downed Delvaux/Greatz of Metro State 8-1 in a route to earn their way to the semis. Their semifinal match put them up against Demond/Freischlag of Colorado Mesa and the Saints freshman pair advanced through to the finals with an 8-4 win. In the final they drew another Maverick squad in Lyden/Weinberg. After falling behind 4-3, Saurombe/Gonzalez stormed back, winning five straight games in an entertaining match to win 8-4 to capture their second straight tournament championship.
On the women’s side of things, the Lady Saints represented just as well. Paula Coyos and Paula Lopez took the court in the Flight 1 singles draw for Seward. Coyos took on Rachel McLaughlin from Colorado Mesa in the first round and advanced with a 6-2, 6-4 win. Lopez drew Kaylee Davis of Colorado College and put up matching 6-2 scores against her to move on to the second round as well. In the quarterfinals, both Lady Saints had relatively easy times. Coyos defeated Morgan Opp of Montana-State Billings 6-1, 6-1 while Lopez downed Kara Williams of Colorado Christian 6-4, 6-0 to reach the semis. The competition amped up in the semifinal round as Coyos and Lopez took on Metro State twins Wanda and Naomi Holopainen in much anticipated matchups. Coyos was first up against Wanda Holopainen and made short work of her 6-2, 6-4 to earn her way into the finals. Lopez faced a stiffer task against Naomi Holopainen and faced her first deficit of the tournament, losing the first set 6-3 to the Roadrunner freshman. Lopez bounced back to win the second 6-4 and stayed on a roll in the deciding third set, winning 6-2 to reach the finals. With doubles competition still in front of them Lopez and Coyos decided that they would settle on a Co-Championship rather than tire each other out in a three set battle.
In Flight 2 singles the Lady Saints struggled in the first round as Vipavee Ngamsiri and Kathryn Roohan each lost their matches, Ngamsiri to Mary Conwell of Montana State-Billing 6-4, 6-4 and Roohan 6-0, 6-3 to Sarah Coy of Colorado State-Pueblo. Ngamsiri picked up a default win in the consolation bracket over Maddy Bush of Colorado College while Roohan fell 6-1, 6-4 to Emily Paffhausen of Montana State-Billings. In their final matches of the tournament Roohan earned her first win with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Gillian Hyde of Colorado College while Ngamsiri lost 6-4, 6-4 in a good match to Taylor Larreau of Metro State. Ngamsiri finished 3rd in the consolation bracket while Roohan finished 5th.
In Flight 3 singles, the Lady Saints were unable to come up with a win in five matches. Katie Kirby of Colorado Mesa beat Seward’s Jackie Arnold 6-1, 6-0 in the first round while the Lady Saints’ Grace Golden was unable to compete on day one of the tournament with an illness. On Saturday Arnold fell 6-0, 6-1 to Marissa O’Connell of Montana State-Billings to end her tournament while Golden lost 8-2 to Brittani Trevitick of Colorado State-Pueblo to end hers.
Naoimie Bukassa got a default win in her first round matchup of the Flight 4 singles against Martina Gilmore of Colorado State-Pueblo, but came up empty in two other matches, losing 6-4, 6-1 to Caroline Cary of Colorado College and 6-0, 6-2 to Cassie Greco of Colorado Christian on Saturday to finish her tournament. She finished in 4th place.
In Flight 2 doubles Bukassa and Arnold teamed and were downed 8-0 by Dodson and McLaughlin of Colorado Mesa in the first round to end their doubles play for the weekend.
Seward sent two teams to the court in Flight 1 doubles as Roohan/Ngamsiri and Coyos/Lopez competed in the top tier. Roohan/Ngamsiri picked up a default win in the first round over Opp/Loomis of Montana State-Billings while Coyos/Lopez cruised with an 8-1 victory over Vertin/Balli of Colorado Christian in their opener. In the second round Holopainen/Oropeza defeated Roohan/Ngamsiri 8-2 while Coyos/Lopez earned an 8-2 win over Howe/Trevitick of Colorado State-Pueblo to find their way into the semis. Coming off of their singles titles, Coyos and Lopez battled against Holopainen/Larreau of Metro State in the semifinal round, winning 8-3 to make it into another Flight 1 championship match. The title match was a good one between the Holopainen/Oropeza of Metro State and the Coyos/Lopez combo and after being tied up at 6, the Lady Saints freshman pushed through to win the final two sets to take the match 8-6 to win the Flight 1 title.