AURORA | City teams and athletes won two team championships and three individual titles during the 2016 fall prep sports season. Here’s a look at one of Aurora’s individual state event winners in Regis Jesuit’s Evan Nuss and Emilio Gonzalez-Cruz, the Class 5A boys state tennis champion at No. 2 doubles:
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
REGIS JESUIT’S EVAN NUSS AND EMILIO GONZALEZ-CRUZ: CLASS 5A BOYS STATE TENNIS CHAMPION, NO. 2 DOUBLES
Outstanding doubles play has become a recent staple of the Regis Jesuit boys tennis team and this season was no exception, as all four of the Raiders’ duos earned their way into the championship round of the Class 5A boys state tennis tournament. Only one Regis Jesuit tandem emerged with state championship victory, however, and that distinction went to the No. 2 doubles team of sophomore Evan Nuss and freshman Emilio Gonzalez-Cruz, who dispatched Denver East’s David Glazer and Patrick Berzins with relative ease in a 6-3, 6-0 decision at the Gates Tennis Center. In his second trip to the state tournament, Nuss got the state championship that had eluded him the previous season, when he and former partner Kosta Garger — who moved up to play No. 1 singles this season — lost in two tight sets in the No. 3 doubles final. Nuss found a new partner in Gonzalez-Cruz, one of four newcomers to coach Laura Jones’ team this season, all of whom made it to state championship matches. The duo had a nearly spotless season, with their only loss coming to Kent Denver’s Oliver Greenwald and Alex Wimer at the Cherry Creek Invitational.
Nuss and Gonzalez-Cruz sailed through the 5A Region 3 tournament with a near shutout in the championship match, but found considerable trouble at the state tournament following a 6-4, 6-2 first round victory over a team from Coronado. Mountain Vista’s Collin Bean and Tommy Hipp pushed Nuss and Gonzalez-Cruz to three sets in the quarterfinals, as did Fairview’s Beck Chrisbens and Andy Wu in the semifinals. The Raiders’ duo survived both challenges to reach the final, where they regrouped and played in their estimation their most enjoyable match, seizing the momentum early and never letting up against the Angels’ duo, which had d0minated a team from Cherry Creek — which went on to place third — in the previous round. Both players will be part of a good sized returning core for Regis Jesuit next season and may aim for a singles positions as there will be at least one opening with Nuss’ older brother, Erich, graduating after playing at No. 3 singles.