It would only be fitting if McPherson High’s Ryan Horton and Peter Horton closed out their athletic careers with a state doubles championship.
The Hortons cleared their first hurdle Saturday at the MHS Tennis Complex by winning the doubles title in the Class 4A Regional Tournament with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph over teammates Dylan Stos and Luke Williams, who themselves will earn a quality seed.
The Hortons, who have a state basketball championship on their resume already this year as well as being two of the top soccer players in the state, will take a 29-6 record to the 4A event on Friday, while the ever-improving Stos and Williams are 26-10.
The Hortons were third at state last year, with the top two teams having moved on.
Stos and Williams had to gut out a three-setter over Smoky Valley’s upset-minded Will Bochte and Trapper Bellah in the semifinals, losing the first set 7-5 before coming back for 7-6 (4) and 6-2 victories in one of the tourney’s most scintillating matches.
They were awaited in the finals by the Hortons, who had polished off Buhler’s Lucas Caywood and Hank Goertzen 6-1, 6-2 in the semis.
Bochte and Bellah won their third-place match and make state with a 15-11 record, the only Vikings to advance.
McPherson also pushed through Kento Aizawa, who was fourth in singles. He lost to eventual champion Marcel Rimrodt of Concordia 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals and then was defeated in a three-setter by Abilene’s Gabe Johnson for third (2-6, 6-3, 6-0).
Aizawa (18-13) was the Bullpups’ biggest surprise of the weekend as he had been MHS’ No. 2 singles player all season.
Rimrodt defeated Buhler’s Evan Schmidt 6-3, 7-6 (3) in the finals.
McPherson’s Gallagher Martin Chavez fell one win short of the Bullpups sending their entire team as he lost to Abilene’s Jacob Bevan in the match to make it, 6-0, 6-3.
With their doubles teams leading the way, the Bullpups won the team title with 18 points, just clipping Buhler’s 16.
Other totals were Abilene (9), Concordia (7), Smoky Valley (5), Circle (2), Chapman (1), El Dorado (0) and Russell (0).
State begins on Friday in Winfield.