Let the guessing game begin.
McPherson High boys tennis coach Tyler Brown is keeping one eye on his No. 2-ranked team and the other on Wichita Collegiate, even though the No. 1-ranked Spartans won’t be on hand Friday and Saturday for the 4A regional being contested at the MHS Tennis Complex.
Brown changed up his lineup in several meets this season, but has been pretty pat the last couple of weeks. However, after finishing second to Collegiate at Monday’s league meet and losing all four matches to the Spartans in the finals, he may go back into the lab and do some tinkering as the Bullpups are chasing their second straight state title.
“Our goal is to qualify all six players for state and be regional champions as a team,” Brown said. “If we do that, hopefully we can challenge Collegiate for a state championship. I’m not sure of our lineup, but we are looking at our lineup since we were swept by Collegiate at league and trying to decide what our best lineup is to stay close to Collegiate in points. We have played a handful of rosters, so at this point we could go in many directions.”
Brown does know who his six players will be, just not the order. Jarrod Nowak and Andrew Snell have played singles most of the year, while the doubles teams have been Nolan Schrader-Kento Aizawa and Hadley Hageman-Kaden Stewart.
It was the Bullpups’ depth last year that enabled them to win the state title. Their two doubles teams wound up meeting for the championship, with Schrader and Gallagher Martin defeating Aizawa and Luke Williams. Snell was fourth in singles and Stewart was ninth.
Even though Collegiate won’t be here — it is hosting a regional that it should totally dominate — the McPherson field is still talented. Abilene, Buhler and Smoky Valley all have quality teams, and others on hand are Chapman, Clay Center, Colby, Concordia and Hays. Buhler finished third behind Collegiate and MHS at the league meet. Smoky Valley is strong in doubles and could get both its teams through.
Friday’s action begins at 10:30 a.m. and the tournament is expected to be played out to the point where Saturday’s 10 a.m. start will feature the semifinal matches. There’s plenty of seating for spectators.
The state tournament is next weekend at Topeka.