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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Pup netters edge out Buhler for 4A regional championship

  • It was tight, but McPherson High School came away with the Class 4A McPherson Regional team title after placing five of their competitors in the top five in their respective brackets.
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  • It was tight, but McPherson High School came away with the Class 4A McPherson Regional team title after placing five of their competitors in the top five in their respective brackets.
    McPherson claimed the team championship with 18 points to Buhlers 16.
    Leading the charge was the senior duo of Peter and Ryan Horton, who continued their outstanding play on Saturday, after not dropping a game on Friday. They started out with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Buhler’s Lucas Caywood and Hank Goertzen to set up a finals showdown with teammates Dylan Stos and Luke Williams.
    Stos and Williams had a battle to even make it into the championship game, as they fought off an upset-minded Smoky Valley duo of Trapper Bellah and Will Bochte. The Bullpups dropped their first set 5-7, but rebounded with wins  of 7-6 (4) and 6-2 to move on to face the Hortons for the regional doubles championship.
    “They have that never say die attitude,” MHS coach Tyler Brown said of Stos and Williams. “It was a matter of getting that second set [against Smoky Valley], because they had lost that first set, but they were in it that whole match.”
    Against the Hortons, Stos and Williams lost by scores of 6-2, 6-2 to finish second, which is pretty much how Brown saw the tournament playing out for the Bullpups’ doubles teams.
    “Really happy with how doubles played,” Brown said. “Looking forward to state for those guys, because I think both of those teams could finish pretty high if they play to their potential.”
    Bochte and Bellah, meanwhile, faced another three-set affair in the third place match against Caywood and Goertsen, only this time the result was more in the favor of the Vikings.
    The Smoky Valley pair claimed third with a 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over the Buhler duo. Bochte and Bellah will be the lone Viking representatives in Winfield Friday and Saturday for the state tournament.
    Taking the last two state spots, as the top six competitors in both brackets advance, were Buhler’s Kyler Doerksen and Hunter Wiehl and the Abilene duo on Erik Hagemon and Reggie Koop.
    In singles play, McPherson sophomore Kento Aizawa finished in fourth place to make the state cut. Aizawa dropped his semifinal match against eventual tournament champion Marcel Rimrodt 6-4, 6-1. In the third place game, Aizawa battled with Abilene’s Gabe Johnson, but fell 6-2, 3-6, 0-6.
    The Bullpups just missed out on having all six members of their varsity roster make the state tournament, as Gallagher Martin-Chavez was defeated in the fifth place play-in game by Abilene’s Jacob Berven 6-0, 6-2.
    “We were right there,” Brown said. “The singles draw was so deep. There was about eight guys that, on any given day, this could totally have been turned around. It was just who was going to play better over Friday and Saturday.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Also making the state singles cut was Buhler’s Evan Schmidt and Mitchell Byers, who finished second and fifth, respectively. Abilene was third in the team scores with nine. Smoky Valley had five team points.
    State begins Friday at Winfield’s T.H. Vaughn Tennis Center, a location Brown and the Bullpups are looking forward to playing at.
    “I’m excited to see what all they’ve done there,” Brown said. “I’ve heard it’s very nice. Excited to play on their new courts.”
    Contact Chris Swick by email at cswick@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.

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