GODDARD — Hesston High’s tennis team entered the Class 3-2-1A State Tournament ranked No. 3 and that’s exactly where it finished on Saturday, as its consistency earned it a plaque.
The Swathers came away with a pair of fifth-place finishes and a seventh for 31 points, trailing Kansas City Christian (39) and Wichita Collegiate (32). Collegiate had been ranked No. 1 much of the year, but KC Christian had the singles champion in unbeaten Johnny Goodwin and a doubles team that took third.
Hesston coach Mark Dahlsten was extremely proud of his team, especially since four of the five members will be back next year.
“I felt that our guys really competed well over the two days,” Dahlsten said. “We were the only school to have three (entries) finish in the Top 8. After losing in the quarterfinals, we could have moped and felt sorry for ourselves, but we didn’t and we all won those next matches. We gave two very good teams a run, but couldn’t quite catch them. I am proud of this team and what we accomplished this season.”
The team’s lone senior qualifier, singles player Keegan LeFevre, was fifth with a 4-1 record. His only loss came to regional champion Easton Ewy of Collegiate, but he won his next three matches in dominating fashion, losing only two games total.
“Keegan finished a fabulous career with a very solid performance,” Dahlsten said. “I must admit I was a bit emotional as Keegan finished his last match. He has been a great leader for our team.”
LeFevre finished the year 20-8 and was the Swathers’ No. 1 singles player for three years.
The other fifth-place finish came from the all-junior doubles team of Collin Martin and Isaac Penner, who were 4-1. The loss came to eventual champions Travis Osland and Max Moxley of Collegiate, but they won three straight, including a 9-8 decision over Dominic Deluca and Eric Banning of Trinity in the fifth-place match.
“I thought these two played well all day,” Dahlsten said. “The fifth-place match was a well-played match between two good teams. We had to come from behind, we were able to do so and showed great character. These two will be our anchors next season.”
They finished with a 21-4 record.
The No. 2 doubles team of sophomores Grant Dahlsten and Garrett Roth were 4-2 for the weekend.
“Grant and Garrett had a good tournament as well,” Dahlsten said. “They got off to a great start before running into a good Central Plains team. In our last match, we got behind early, but picked our game up to come back. These two finished 30-8 on the year and should look forward to two more solid years.”