WICHITA — McPherson High’s boys tennis team now knows where the bar is set.
Defending Class 4A champion Wichita Collegiate outlasted the Bullpups for the championship of the Collegiate Tournament of Champions on Saturday as the teams lived up to their No. 1 and 2 rankings in Class 4A, respectively.
Collegiate rolled out all its big guns to its home meet after bringing just top singles player Lakelin Conrad to the McPherson Invitational last week. The Spartans made a statement that they’re still the team to beat until somebody proves otherwise.
Collegiate scored 168 points to MHS’ 153. Carroll, perhaps the team to beat in Class 5A, was third with 124, finishing just ahead of Maize (119). Also in the field was expected 4A title contender Independence, which was sixth with 104.
Miege’s Will Grier, a state champion in doubles last year, is now playing singles and could be the player to beat in 4A next month as he won the Collegiate championship. Collegiate’s Conrad and Easton Ewy were third and fourth, respectively, while MHS’ Andrew Snell and Jarrod Nowak were fifth and singles, respectively, as singles was loaded.
There was a bit of a surprise in doubles as Indy’s Zack Schroeder and Luke Bass won the championship, even though Schroeder probably will be playing singles come state time as he was third last year in 4A.
MHS’ vaunted doubles team of Nolan Schrader and Kaden Stewart were fifth after being upset by Collegiate’s No. 2 doubles team of Max Wheeler and Ben Murphy. Schrader and Stewart were the top seed going in having lost only once before.
MHS’ other doubles team of Hadley Hageman and Patrick Munsey lost in the first round, but came back to win three of four matches to take 21st.
“Today tested our endurance, talent and mental toughness,” MHS coach Tyler Brown said. “To come in second at the Tournament of Champions was not an easy task. We were able to play many of the best in the state today. Ultimately I know this team was not satisfied where each of them finished today, but I truly believe it only made them stronger for the road ahead. To play several of the best in such a tournament allows you to measure where you are and lets you know where you want to be. Coach John Wooden said it best, ‘Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.’ We can always strive to do better. I know the goals this group has and feel we can you today as a stepping stone.”