HESSTON — McPherson High’s boys tennis team, perhaps fueled by losing to Wichita Collegiate on Saturday, returned to its winning ways on Tuesday by taking first place in the Hesston Invitational.
The Bullpups piled up 126 points to easily win the title. Sterling was the best of the rest with 97.
The Bullpups’ Kaden Stewart and Nolan Schrader were barely challenged in winning the doubles division. Patrick Munsey and Hadley Hageman were 11th.
McPherson’s Andrew Snell made the finals at No. 1 singles, losing to Sacred Heart’s undefeated and probable state champion Stratton Brown 8-3. The Bullpups’ Jarrod Nowak took third after losing to Brown in the semifinals.
“I feel the team bounced back in a big way from the (Wichita Collegiate) TOC this past Saturday,” MHS coach Tyler Brown said. “Nolan and Kaden looked the best I've seen them all year beating a very good Abilene team of Berven and West 8-1 in the finals. Andrew looked confident and even played Stratton Brown tough, some of his best tennis against Stratton Brown for a second time this year. Jarrod had to play Stratton in the semifinals, but leading up to that match and following that match Jarrod was able to capitalize on the day picking up some key wins. Patrick and Hadley finished the day in the middle of the field. They lost in the second round to a Conway Springs team I believe was a Top 5 team in 3-2-1A. They keep playing teams extremely tough that are state medalist in their classifications.”
Brown said playing strong competition is only readying the team for the home stretch of the season.
“They are gaining valued experience playing tough close matches with some of the state’s best, I truly believe it's prepping them for regionals,” Brown said. “What a day. Andre Agassi said it best, "Tennis uses the language of life. Advantage, service, fault, break, love -- the basic elements of tennis are those of everyday existence, because every match is a life in miniature." Today was full of life and continues to make our team grow and better not only in the game but in life.”
Hesston took fourth out of the 13 teams.
In singles, Logan Gamble was seventh while Mason Barber finished 12th. Jorge Morales and Jeb Carlson were eighth in doubles, with Daniel Casimir and Isaac Decker were 19th.
“Wow, what a great tournament,” Hesston coach Mark Dahlsten said. “The field was really good and I felt we competed really well. I look forward to addressing some specific things in preparation for next week. I am pleased.”
Smoky Valley, which was fifth in the team standings, received a fourth-place finish in doubles from Nick Reinert and Johann Rauchholz.
• TEAM SCORES •
1. McPherson, 126
2. Sterling, 87
3. Buhler, 75
4. Hesston, 72
5. Smoky Valley, 69
6. Abilene, 68
6. Trinity Catholic, 68
8. Central Plains, 63
9. Conway Springs, 58
10. Sacred Heart, 51
11. Trinity Academy, 46
12. Wichita Collegiate, 35
13. Hillsboro, 2