Smoky Valley’s Quinn Dippel plays tennis as though he’s running the 100-meter dash.


Smoky Valley’s Quinn Dippel plays tennis as though he’s running the 100-meter dash.
Dippel sprinted through the singles field of Saturday’s McPherson Invitational, flashing through his first three opponents without losing a single game before bolting by Hutchinson’s Julian Scholz 6-3, 6-1 in the finals.
The defending Class 4A singles champion is listed at just 5-6, but the Pocket Rocket seemed to have a cannon for an arm, hitting bazooka after bazooka past Scholz, who realized after his early burst that he was simply overmatched.
Scholz actually led 3-1 in the first game, but Dippel ramped up the velocity to win nine straight games before finishing off the match.
Stepping up in class benefits Dippel, who was undefeated all of last year before losing to Goddard’s Matthew Becker in his first tournament this year. Since then, he has roared through the opposition without as much as a loss.
Dippel basically perched on the baseline and was content to wail away in a slugging match.
“I love hitting hard,” Dippel said. “He (Scholz) was someone who could hit pretty hard with me, too. Those are so fun, a lot more fun than those easy matches where they can’t hit it back.”
Behind Dippel, the Vikings  -- the smallest school in the field -- took second place to Hutchinson. The Salthawks, buoyed by a 1-2 finish in doubles -- scored 71, while Smoky Valley emerged from a second-place logjam to score 47, two more than McPherson High. Salina Central (41), Maize (40), Arkansas City (38), Garden City (36) and Independence (23) rounded out the field. Independence did not bring top singles player Nick Romans, who’s expected to challenge Dippel for the 4A title next month at state in Lindsborg.
For the host Bullpups, they received a third from doubles team Max Pyle and Cory Horton. Ben Davidson and Connor Schafer were ninth, while in singles, Peter Horton was eighth and Daniel Allmon was 12th, as the draw was played all the way out.
“Overall, it was an OK day,” MHS coach Doug Gayer said, noting that by playing Pyle at doubles, it probably lessened the Bullpups’ point total. “We got to see Central for the first time and they’re a good, young team and better than I thought. That just makes our regional tougher than I thought. We were hoping for that upset win somewhere, and we almost got one in the semis with Cory and Max.”
Horton and Pyle had two match points against Hutchinson’s Scott Weber and Brody Queal, but couldn’t finish off what proved to be a testy match, as a line judge had to be called in due some disputes between the teams. Weber and Queal wound up losing 6-1, 6-2 in the finals to teammates J.D. McKee and Ryan Hickman.
Smoky Valley received a fifth from the doubles team of Seth Nelson and Koltin Howard-Talbott. Stephen DeWitt and Weston VanRanken took 12th, while Connor Chambers was 13th in singles.