Kieran Joe and Peyton Shewmon’s dramatic challenge match victory caps strong regional performance for Windsor tennis team
October 5, 2017
When Kieran Joe and Peyton Shewmon won a critical late game in their regional tennis match against Thompson Valley's Bailey and Brandon Hamrick, the young Shewmon couldn't help but pump his first and let out an enthusiastic roar.
The Windsor No. 2 doubles duo kept its cool the rest of the match. The duo knew it had to, considering the implications and nip-and-tuck nature of the match.
But, moments later when Joe saw a Thompson Valley shot sail out of bounds, there was no more holding back.
Joe, a grizzled senior, shouted just one word over and over again as he celebrated the victory with Wizards teammates and fans: State.
Shewmon and Joe are statebound after placing third but winning a challenge match against the Hamricks in the most dramatic of fashions: 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 during the Class 4A Region 4 tournament Thursday at Centennial Courts.
"When the score was at 5-4, I was like, 'Holy crap, we only have one more (game) to go, and we can make it to state,' " Joe said. "That last point, it was going back and forth, and (Shewmon) is doing a lot of the work. … Finally, once I saw that ball fly in the air, I'm like, 'It's done.' That's when I just got really excited, hyped and let it all out."
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Joe previously qualified for state as a sophomore, while Shewmon is making his state tournament debut.
They represent one of three positions in which Windsor qualified for state, which takes place Thursday-Saturday at Pueblo City Park.
Wizards senior No. 3 singles player Blake Pendleton qualified for state with a runner-up finish, as did the No. 4 doubles duo of junior Kenneth Blake and sophomore Kaden Henry.
Windsor will bring five total competitors to state after bringing just one doubles team a year ago.
Shewmon and Joe's two-hour challenge match was the only one of the tournament, yet it provided easily enough entertainment value to give the talent-laden tournament a dramatic fitting conclusion.
Neither team led by more than two games the entire match — a match that featured seemingly countless numbers of deuces.
After the Hamricks took Set 1, 6-4, they placed Joe and Shewmon's season the brink. They forced match point while up 6-5 in Set 2.
Shewmon and Joe didn't relent, though. They battled back to take the next game. They then jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead in the tiebreaking set before holding on to win 7-5.
The Hamricks were again on the cusp of qualifying for state in the third set, leading 4-3. But, the Windsor duo wrestled that ticket to Pueblo out of the Hamricks' hands, firing on all cylinders in the final three sets.
"Going into the day, they needed to win the first match, they needed help (in the championship match)," Windsor coach Chris Minear said. "They got everything to fall into place, and then they had to turn around and win a match. To fight off a match point in that second set — it would have been fairly easy to quit at that point."
But, there was no quit in the Wizards' focused duo.
Joe and Shewmon split two previous meetings this season with the Hamricks. But, the nerves, intensity and implications were just a tad higher than those regular season encounters.
"The whole time, I was shaking," Shewmon said. "I had the first serve of the game, and just bouncing the ball was a task, honestly."
Shewmon said he was able to fight through those nerves, knowing how determined his partner was to not end his high school tennis career just one win short of qualifying for state.
Still careful to remain composed and level-headed, Shewmon and Joe took one big step toward their gritty victory when Shewmon stroked an ace past the Hamricks to extend a lead to 40-15 in the final game. Shewmon kept a calm, cool exterior despite his obvious nerves, as that point preceded the Hamricks' lob out of bounds, which sealed Windsor's win.
"Since the beginning of the game, I was just thinking I've got to just find a way to finish it," Shewmon said. "Once you get within one point and you're up, you know that you've just got to find a way to get that last point. I was excited to be just one point away."
Windsor was the highest placing Weld team, finishing fourth with 38 points.
Dawson won the team race with 67 points, followed by Thompson Valley (60) and Silver Creek (45).
Greeley Central was fifth with four points, and Northridge was sixth with one.
Mountain View and University were scoreless.
Heading to PUeblo
Pendleton, Shewmon, Joe, Blake and Henry were the only Weld players to qualify for state.
Joe and Shewmon set up their challenge match by beating Greeley Central's Spencer Conway and Gavan Blackburn 7-5, 6-2 in the third-place match.
Pendleton lost 6-1, 6-1 in the No. 3 singles finals to Dawson's Connor Larson. But, Pendleton still clinched his state berth with a quarterfinals win Wednesday over Thompson Valley's Adam Brubaker, who placed third Thursday.
Henry and Blake beat Dawson's Liam Keeley and Dawson Santangelo 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in the quarterfinals Wednesday before falling to Thompson Valley's Seth Dotson and Aaron Hardy, 6-1, 6-3, in the finals Thursday.
Santangelo and Keeley won their third-place match Thursday, securing a state berth for Blake and Henry.
Team scores — Dawson 67, Thompson Valley 60, Silver Creek 45, Windsor 38, Greeley Central 4, Northridge 1, Mountain View 0, University 0.
Singles — 1. Brandon Nelson, SC, def. Riley Burridge, D, 6-2, 6-4; 2. Ben Bicknell, SC, def. Carter Holbrook, D, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4; 3. Connor Larson, D, def. Blake Pendleton, W, 6-1, 6-1.
Doubles — 1. Gavyn Pure & Finn Jones, D, def. Justin Thompson & Zach Shepherd, SC, 6-0, 6-2; 2. Phil Geraghty & Sam Troughton, D, def. Bailey Hamrick & Brandon Hamrick TV, 6-4, 6-3; 3. Jared Kasprzak & Brody Kasprzak, TV, def. Ryan Oliver & Jordy Grant-Krenz, D, 6-4, 6-4; 4. Seth Dotson & Aaron Hardy, TV, def. Kenneth Blake & Kaden Henry, W, 6-1, 6-3.
Singles — 1. Tony Klagge, TV, def. Max McManigal, W, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3; 2. Landon Lees, TV, def. Joe Lombardelli, N, 6-1, 6-1; 3. Adam Brubaker, TV, def. Jared Nielson, SC, 6-3, 6-2.
Doubles — 1. Jonathan Szwaja & Haakon Irey, TV, def. Andrew Fischer & Wesley Smith, W, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2; 2. Kieran Joe & Peyton Shewmon, W, def. Spencer Conway & Gavan Blackburn, GC, 7-5, 6-2; 3. Briggs Reed & Naiose Wilson, W, def. Michael Van Vuuren & William Van Vuuren, SC, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2; 4. Dawson Santangelo & Liam Keeley, D, def. Kyle Williams & Roberto Esteban Vera, SC, 6-3, 6-2.
Doubles — 2. Joe & Shewmon, W, def. Ba. Hamrick & Br. Hamrick, D, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.