All Kyle Chalmers could do last season was watch.
He had torn his ACL, and the then-junior couldn’t play because of the injury.
One year later, he and fellow Brophy Prep senior Hudson Blake hoisted the Division I state championship trophy over their heads after the Broncos' 5-0 win against Salpointe Catholic, leaving those injuries behind.
“Tearing it last year and having to watch it last year — it was an epic match and I wanted to be in it every step of the way — it now feels like it’s all paid off,” said Chalmers of Brophy’s 5-1 victory last year.
Chalmers and Blake — the Broncos' No. 1 and No. 2 singles seeds — faced some of the stiffest competition of the match.
Chalmers soared to a 6-0 win in the first set, but Salpointe’s Tyler Linscott battled back. At 6-5 in the second set, Linscott gave Chalmers his only chance on match point. He dropped a volley just a few feet from the net and Chalmers, who was at the baseline, chased it down to scrape a passing shot by Linscott for the 6-0, 7-5 result.
“It was fun. Just to have a walkover win in the state finals, that’s not how I want to go; I want it to be a battle,” said Chalmers, who will play at St. Joseph’s University next year.
“Tyler’s a great player, it’s fun playing against him, but it was a battle and I was just relieved to get the 'W.'”
Blake, the other senior, was the only player on Brophy’s team that did not get to finish. Yash Parikh had a set lead on Blake, who also won the state singles championship, and they were tied when David Akin solidified the Brophy win with a 7-5, 7-6 tiebreaker victory.
At the No. 3 seed Brophy’s Zach Cihlar bested Salpointe’s Andrew Dunn 6-4, 6-4, and Brophy’s Christian Franco added a 7-5, 6-2 victory.
The first person off the court was Brophy’s sixth seed J.J. Good, who reported a 6-4, 6-1 win against Joe Lucker.
But when asked about how it felt to win, it all came back to Chalmers’ recovery.
“It feels awesome, especially with Kyle tearing his ACL last year,” said the TCU-bound Blake. “For him to comeback and play as strong as he has, I’ve just never seen anybody come back like that from an ACL injury.”
The Div. II championship came down to the final match between Notre Dame and Tucson Ironwood Ridge, which eventually won 5-4.
The Saints' No. 1-seed Adrian Cordova (4-6, 6-3, 6-4) and No. 2 Luke Carstens (6-3, 7-6(2)) won their respective matches, which forced the match to come down to doubles.
After the team of Cordova and Carstens made quick work of Ironwood’s Cody Petford and Adam Knox with a 10-5 win, the doubles team of C.J. Harvey and Connor Miller followed suit with a 10-7 victory.
But at the same time, Ironwood’s Alex Bose began to dominate the net game in doubles and forced a triple match point with a 9-7 lead. Two points later, Ironwood secured the victory.
“When we up 7-4, Bose definitely took over the net, he started poaching and he knew exactly what to do,” Notre Dame coach Oscar Vareia said. “He’s an experienced, fantastic player and you can’t take that away from him.”