HESSTON — When last seen, the Hesston boys tennis team was posing for pictures with the Class 3-2-1A state championship plaque.
If the Swathers continue the way they started the season on Tuesday, they could repeat their photo finish in May.
The Swathers scored 44 points to take first place in a tough Hesston Invitational field. Class 5A power Salina Central was second with 36, expected 3-2-1A state contender Trinity Catholic was third with 34 and a solid 4A program, Smoky Valley, was fourth with 24.
Completing the eight-team field were Goddard (20), Parsons (5), Trinity Academy (5) and Wichita Independent (4).
“I’m obviously pleased with our start today,” veteran Hesston coach Mark Dahlsten said. “All of our kids had some really good moments today. As well as we played, there is still room to improve, but I like the attitude and competitiveness of the guys and know they will work to get even better.”
The Swathers’ power came in doubles, as both teams won their divisions. Grant Dahlsten and Garrett Roth played No. 1 and won by 8-1, 8-4 and 8-5 counts. Mason Barber and Jorge Morales played No. 2, winning 8-0, 8-6 and 8-1.
“Grant and Garrett got better with each match today,” Dahlsten said. “They beat a very good Salina Central team in the finals by serving incredibly well. Mason and Jorge made their varsity debut one to remember. They were really good all day. In the semis we had to hold off a good Smoky Valley team (a qualifier in Class 4A last year).
Both Swather singles players took second with 2-1 records, Daniel Holthus at No. 1 and Kendrick Weaver at No. 2.
“Daniel played well today,” Dahlsten said. “He came from behind in both of his first two matches, including coming from 4-7 down in the semis. Kendrick also had a very good day. I felt he really controlled points in his first two matches and constructed points well.”
As expected, Smoky Valley’s strength came from its doubles. Trapper Bellah and Nick Reinert were third at No. 1, with Jarod Meier and Seth Yenni third at No. 2. Trey Schneider was fifth at No. 1 singles and Kaj Sjogren was fifth at No. 2 singles. Both were 2-1 for the day.
Trinity’s Victor Cheng won the No. 1 singles division (8-1 over Holthus) and Trinity’s Seth Clennan was the No. 2 singles winner (8-0 over Weaver).