No. 1 Bullpups turn back strong tennis field

By Steve Sell
April 22, 2016

MAIZE — It was supposed to be the biggest stumbling block yet for McPherson High’s undefeated and No. 1-ranked boys tennis team.

The Maize Invitational on Thursday was chockfull of quality teams, all itching to hand the Bullpups their first loss.

After tinkering with his lineup for the past couple of meets, MHS coach Tyler Brown lined things up just as he would for a state tournament. The result was an overpowering Bullpup performance as they scored 29 points to secure the title.

Wichita Collegiate, right behind MHS in the Class 4A rankings, took second with 22. Other scores were Maize (19), Carroll (17), Goddard (14), Maize South (11), Garden City (4) and Hutchinson (0).

“When reflecting back on the day as a team, I felt like this was one of our best days,” Brown said. “At one point in the day every one of our players was playing at a high level. We have a very talented team, our guys have a vast array of shots that they can play. Our big focus lately though is being mentally tough, controlling emotions and not letting unforced errors get to us —living in the moment. And on all those areas I felt really good about it today. If we continue to grow and make gains in those areas we can play with the best of them.”

MHS stormed to titles in three of the four divisions. Singles player Jarrod Nowak at No. 1 and Andrew Snell at No. 2 both went 3-0, as did the No. 1 doubles team of Kento Aizawa and Nolan Schrader. Kaden Stewart and Hadley Hageman were 2-1 for third at No. 2.

This meet, however, was the calm before the storm. MHS plays in its most challenging meet of the year on Saturday when it goes to Wichita Collegiate, a tournament that includes most of the top teams in Classes 6A, 5A and 4A.