Prep Notes: Windsor’s Kieran Joe finishing boys tennis season strong after frustrating start | MyWindsorNow.com

Prep Notes: Windsor’s Kieran Joe finishing boys tennis season strong after frustrating start

Kieran Joe felt a little out of place when the boys tennis season started in August.

But, when the fall campaign ends this week, he'll be right where he hoped he would be: At Pueblo City Park, playing in the Class 4A state tournament, which kicks off today.

Joe, a senior at Windsor, formed a successful No. 2 doubles duo with classmate Andrew Fischer a year ago.

At the start of this fall, Fischer was promoted to No. 1 doubles, teaming with junior Wesley Smith. Joe remained at No. 2 doubles, adjusting to a new partner, sophomore Peyton Shewmon.

Joe admitted he was a tad perturbed by the decision at first — natural discontent that didn't surprise Wizards coach Chris Minear.

"Beginning of the season was really tough, because he was kind of frustrated with it," Shewmon said of his partner. "But, there's no one I would rather be with right now."

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Joe quickly meshed with Shewmon. And, now there is also no place he would rather be — both in terms of his position on the team, as well as his physical location of Pueblo City Park.

Joe and Shewmon (10-3) sizzled through the regular season — and through this past week's regional tournament — punching their ticket to Pueblo for the state tournament, which concludes Saturday.

"I was No. 2 doubles last year, so I'm glad I was able to beat the teams (this year) that I wasn't able to last year," Joe said. "But, I wish I was able to play at the higher level for my senior year, because it just makes me push myself more. But, in the long run, it worked out."

Joe and Shewmon represent one of three positions in which Windsor qualified for state. They'll be joined in Pueblo by No. 3 singles player, senior Blake Pendleton (11-1), and the No. 4 doubles tandem of junior Kenneth Blake and sophomore Kaden Henry (10-2).

Shewmon said the more experienced Joe has shown him how to excel against the upper-tier high school competition the duo will see this week.

It's Joe's unrelenting competitiveness, more than anything else, that has rubbed off on Shewmon.

"As soon as I found out that he was my partner, I was super excited," Shewmon said. "I knew he had so much drive."

Bobby Fernandez covers high school sports for The Tribune. Reach him at (970) 392-4478, by email at bfernandez@greeleytribune.com or on Twitter @BobbyDFernandez. Listen to him at 11:35 a.m. each Tuesday and 6:45 p.m. each Wednesday on 1310 KFKA.

Love-love

» What: Class 4A Boys Tennis Championships

» When: Today through Saturday

» Where: Pueblo City Park, 330 City Park Ave., Pueblo.

» Who: Windsor state qualifiers: Kieran Joe and Peyton Shewmon (10-3, No. 2 doubles); Blake Pendleton (11-1, No. 3 singles); Kenneth Blake and Kaden Henry (10-2, No. 4 doubles).

Prep Notes

» Time to draw: On Monday, the Colorado High School Activities Association released draws for the Class 4A boys state tennis tournament, which takes place today through Saturday in Pueblo.

At No. 3 singles, Windsor senior Blake Pendleton opens against Kent Denver junior Sam Nassif.

At No. 2 doubles, the Wizards duo of senior Kieran Joe and sophomore Peyton Shewmon match up with George Washington’s Cousteau Reinig and Jaeson Chin.

Windsor’s No. 4 doubles tandem of junior Kenneth Blake and sophomore Kaden Henry face Pueblo West’s Brendan Bradfield and Caydon Branine.

Matches begin each day at 9 a.m.

» Breaking out: Greeley Central’s football team earned exactly the type of signature win it needed as it continues to rebuild its program.

On Friday, the Wildcats (1-0 4A Northern, 2-4 overall) secured a 35-27 win against Fort Collins (0-1, 2-4), which was just two weeks removed from a 40-35 win against Greeley West.

Central senior Brett Yackey ran for 131 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Senior quarterback Rudy Escamilla completed 17 of 26 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

The Wildcats rallied back from a 21-7 halftime deficit.

» Swinging toward state: Softball programs will usher in the third postseason of the fall, following in the footsteps of boys golf and tennis.

State berths will be on the line during regional play Saturday.

In 3A, second-seeded Eaton (16-3) plays host to No. 18 Fort Lupton (11-8) and No. 15 Basalt (11-8). Top-seeded Brush (16-3) hosts No. 16 Valley (7-12) and No. 17 Cedaredge (8-11).

Weld Central (15-4), seeded 10th, makes the long trip to Rocky Ford in a regional featuring the seventh-seeded Meloneers (12-7) and No. 23 Florence (8-10). University (13-6), seeded eighth, travels to Meeker for a regional that features the ninth-seeded Cowboys (16-3) and No. 24 Sheridan (8-10).

In 4A, No. 23 Windsor (10-9) is in Denver where it will compete in a regional composed of No. 7 Thomas Jefferson (17-2), No. 26 Longmont (11-8) and No. 10 Conifer (16-3). Roosevelt (7-12) is seeded 30th and it belongs to a regional that features No. 14 D’Evelyn (13-6), No. 19 Air Academy (12-7) and the third-seeded host, Golden (16-3).

Action Saturday starts at 10 a.m. Teams in 3A need to win only once to qualify for next week’s state tournament, while 4A squads most win two games.

» Small town, big time: While rookie Austin Ekeler continues to earn a growing role within the Los Angeles Chargers’ offense, Eaton’s veteran professional football player also remains a contributor at the highest level.

Mitch Unrein is in his seventh year in the NFL, his third year with the Chicago Bears.

Playing defensive end, he has eight tackles and four assists in five games this season. In the Bears’ 20-17 loss Monday to Minnesota, he tied his season-high with three tackles.

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