Hesston net coach has no regrets

By Steve Sell
May 17, 2016

There were no regrets as far as Hesston High boys tennis coach Mark Dahlsten was concerned.

Dahlsten’s Swathers had been ranked No. 1 in Class 3-2-1A most of the year. But in the regional meet, the Swathers were outlasted by Central Plains and it turned out to be a harbinger of things to come.

Even though both teams had three entries, the Oilers were dominant at state at Wichita this past weekend, scoring 41 points to 29 for the runner-up Swathers.

Some of the sting was eased as Hesston’s doubles team of Grant Dahlsten and Garrett Roth won the state championship, the third in school history.

All-in-all, the tournament left the Swather coach smiling.

“I am thrilled with how things turned out,” said Dahlsten, whose team won its third straight plaque at state including last year’s team championship. “I thought our kids played well and competed hard all weekend. We obviously would have liked to defend our championship title from last year, but Central Plains had a great tournament and got great performances from all three entries. We just couldn’t catch them.”

What was interesting about state was that it looked much like Hesston’s regional. Three of the four singles semifinalists came out of Hesston, ditto for doubles.

Grant Dahlsten and Roth left little doubt they were the top doubles team. They basically steamrolled their opponents in the four matches.

“Grant and Garrett capped a fantastic career,” Dahlsten said. “They lived up to their No. 1 seeding and were really on their game for most of the tournament. These two have played together for four years and their chemistry really showed this weekend... a very special team.”

The other doubles team of Kendrick Weaver and Jorge Morales were busy, playing an exhaustive seven matches in two days, winning five. They lost in the second round, but then won four of their last five in the consolation bracket.

“They played very well all weekend. They were able to beat Sterling, who beat us last week (in the regional),” Dahlsten said. “They ended the day beating Conway Springs, who beat us earlier in the tourney. It was very satisfying to see these two play as well as they did.”

Daniel Holthus was 12th in singles and finished his career with two state medals. Dahlsten said he’ll be missed next year as he has been a consistent performer.

Dahlsten will enter next season with one of his more inexperienced teams in a while as only Morales and Mason Barber, who rounded out the Top 6, return. The program, though, has established consistency and the Swathers certainly will make some noise again next year.