Demons’ ace crowned a regional champion

Searle and three DHS doubles pairs will make the trip to the state tennis tournament

The Durango High School boys tennis team is going to the state tournament.

Demons’ No. 1 singles player Ryder Searle took first place at the regional tennis tournament at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction on Saturday, earning him a berth into the CHSAA Class 4A Boys Tennis State Championships starting Thursday in Pueblo.

“He was really focused and did a good job playing throughout the tournament,” DHS head coach Reagyn Germer said.

“He’s been working on his mental game, and that will determine how well he does (at state). He has good fundamentals, and I think that he’s a good player so I think he has a chance to do really well there.”

The No. 1 (Dylan Blair and Patrick Neal), No. 3 (Jalen Muller and Drew Downs) and No. 4 (Harrison Quick and Tim Martin) doubles teams also are alternates for the tournament after each took third place at regionals.

“I think the competition and the match play (over the season) gave them really great experiences that we applied (this weekend),” Germer said.

No. 3 singles Wesley Komick took fourth, as did the No. 2 doubles team of Alec Ensign and Chris Walton.

Searle, a Pagosa Springs student who plays at DHS because his high school doesn’t have a tennis program, received a bye into the semifinals, where he beat Hotchkiss 6-2, 6-1 on Friday.

Saturday, he beat a Steamboat Springs player 6-3, 6-2 for the regional title.

Blair and Neal beat Cedaredge 6-0, 6-0 in the quarterfinals, lost to Aspen 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the semifinals, then beat Montezuma-Cortez 6-1, 6-4 in Friday’s playbacks.

Saturday, they beat Montrose 6-2, 6-1 for third.

Muller and Downs beat Montezuma-Cortez 6-2, 6-2, lost to Steamboat Springs 6-1, 6-3, beat Montrose 6-3, 6-1, then lost to Aspen 6-3, 6-3 for third.

“They lost 6-3, 6-3, but it was a really good match. They played well, and they fought for every point out there,” Germer said.

Quick and Martin lost 6-2, 7-6 (6) to Steamboat Springs, beat Montezuma-Cortez 6-2, 6-1, then beat Montrose 6-2, 6-4 for third.

Komick beat Cedaredge 6-4, 6-4 in the quarters, lost to Steamboat Springs 6-0, 6-1, beat Montrose 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, then lost to Hotchkiss 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 for fourth.

Ensign and Walton wrapped up the placers, beating Cedaredge 6-3, 6-1, losing to Steamboat Springs 6-4, 6-1, beating Montezuma-0Cortez 6-1, 6-0, then losing to Montrose 6-2, 6-4 for fourth.

Durango’s No. 2 singles player, Aaron Cash, lost 6-3, 6-2 to Montezuma-Cortez on Friday and was knocked out of the tournament.

Germer said regionals was a good way for the team as a whole to end its season, and she said she saw “steady improvement” across all players over the season, her first as head coach.

Still, she said she was most proud of the way all of her players handled themselves on the court regardless of the outcome over the weekend.

“I told the guys I was really proud of them for being such good sportsmen on the court,” Germer said. “All of them were respectful of their opponents.”