CENTRAL BOYS TRIUMPHANT AT NEWTON
At Newton, Salina Central’s Nolan Foth and Carson Michaelis won the doubles title and led the Mustangs to a team championship Thursday in the Newton Invitational.
The Mustangs claimed the team trophy with 54 points, followed by Newton with 46 and Winfield with 37.
Foth and Michaelis beat Newton’s Cody Murrell and Jason Wong, 8-2, in the doubles final, while Central’s Hunter Hendrich and Ben Rost finished fifth.
Central also got a runner-up finish in singles from Will Hayes, who fell 8-4 to Wichita Heights’ Kerry Dunn in the finals. The Mustangs’ Akass Bhakta finished seventh.
SALINA CENTRAL WINS MUSTANG CLASSIC
At Salina Central, the Mustangs compiled 58 points and easily won the Mustang Classic Tennis Tournament.
Newton was second with 49 points and Andover third with 45.
The Mustangs were led by the Doubles team of Nolan Foth and Carson Michaelis, which finished second. Will Hayes placed third in Singles and teammate Akass Bhakta fourth.
Salina South finished sixth in the team standings with 26 points. Carson Harris was fifth in singles and Joey Wilson 12th. The Doubles team of Gavin Aills and Eli Truhe placed ninth while Donovan Reeves and Connor Talbott were 15th.
DERBY INVITATIONAL POSTPONED
Salina Central’s Keaton Beach and Hunter Hendrick finished third in No. 2 doubles on the day before pouring rain stopped the remainder of play in the tournament.
Thus far, Central’s No. 1 singles player, Will Hayes, will be playing for third place. In number two singles, Akass Bhakta is 2-0 in pool play yet to finish. The No. 2 doubles team of Nolan Foth and Carson Michaelis is also 2-0 in pool play, yet to finish. The tournament will resume next Thursday at 3 p.m
HAYES LEADS MUSTANGS TO TOPEKA WEST TITLE
At Topeka, Salina Central’s Will Hayes won the singles title and the Mustangs cruised to the team championship of the Topeka West Invitational.
Hayes was 6-0 on the day. Teammate Akass Bhakta was 4-2 and finished sixth. In doubles, Nolan Foth and Carson Michaelis placed fourth with a 4-2 record while Keaton Beach and Hunter Hendrick were also 4-2 and took seventh.
Salina South placed fifth with 52 points. Carson Harris was second in singles with 5-1 record and Eli Truhe 17th with a 2-4 slate. The Cougars’ doubles team of Gavin Aills and Joey Wilson finished fifth, winning five of their six matches. Noah Endreshak and Isaac Newman finished 16th, going 1-5.
South has its Invitational tournament Thursday and both schools will compete in the Central Invitational on Saturday.
SALINA CENTRAL WINS DERBY INVITATIONAL
At Derby, the Mustangs had a first place finish, a second-place finish and two third-place finishes en route to winning the team championship in the weather-delayed event Thursday.
Central finished with 24 points with Wichita Collegiate seconds with 20 and Maize third with 18 1 /2.
Akass Bhakta went 4-0 on the day and finished won the No. 2 singles for Central.
The No. 1 doubles team of Nolan Foth and Carson Michaelis was 2-2 and placed second. They finished in a tie after Pool play, but entered the finals after winning a tiebreaker from Pool play scores. They lost in the finals to Wichita Collegiate 4-8.
Will Hayes (3-1) took third in No. 1 singles, and Keaton Beach and Hunter Hendricks (3-1) were third in No. 2 doubles.
HAYES AND FOTH FIFTH AT SALINA CENTRAL INVITATIONAL
Losing two games in one match is a rare occurrence for Sacred Heart standout Stratton Brown. Falling behind 2-0 has been absolutely unheard of for Brown in the last two years. That’s exactly where the Knight senior found himself late Saturday afternoon while facing Arkansas City senior Berett Hollis in the singles championship match of the Salina Central Invitational.
It was no cause for alarm. After trailing 0-30 in the third game of the eightgame pro set, Brown (19-0) came roaring back and won eight consecutive games for an 8-2 victory, running his winning streak to 51 over the past two seasons. “Honestly, the last time I started a match 0-2 was probably the last match of my sophomore year,” Brown said. “I came out a little loose, he was hitting good shots, and it was two games right there. “My dad (coach Greg Brown) told me to get my feet moving and get the ball over earlier to put some pressure on him.” The Class 3-2-1A defending state champion, Brown had not had an opponent win two games in any match this season prior to Saturday. His first four matches at the Central High courts included three consecutive 8-0 wins and an 8-1 victory in the semifinals over Ark City’s Pierce Klaassen. Three of the eight games Brown won against Hollis did go to deuce. That included a 16-point marathon in the ninth game where Brown held off three gamepoint opportunities for Hollis, eventually winning the final point on an ace. “I definitely made him work for it,” said Hollis, a Class 5A state singles champion in 2014 and runner-up a year ago. “I played with a nothing-to-lose mindset, and he was a little tight early. Ultimately, it was one of those good losses.”
“Central brings in a lot of good teams and players to this meet,” Brown said. “To play 5A and 4A competition is good for me and my teammates as we gear up for postseason.”
The team title went to St. James Academy with 107 points, followed by Arkansas City with 98. St. James Academy is ranked No. 3 in Class 5A this week, with Ark City ranked No. 2. Topeka West was third in the team standings with 79 points, one point better than Central in fourth. Salina South was ninth with 51 points and Sacred Heart took 12th with 43.
The doubles team of Will Hayes and Nolan Foth had the top finish for Central, going 4-1 on the day and finishing fifth. It was the first tournament pairing this season for the Mustang juniors. Hayes and Foth, the tournament’s No. 6 seed, took their lone loss in the tournament quarterfinals to Goddard-Eisenhower’s Collin Anderson and Tyler McGreevy.
They finished the day with back-to-back wins, including an 8-3 victory in the fifth-place match over No. 4 seed Hunter Wiehl and Camrin Engleken of Buhler. “Going into this tournament we knew it was probably bigger than state with a lot of good doubles teams and a really good singles pool,” Hayes said. “As the sixth seed we knew if we played well, we could be up there with the top teams.
“Being our first tournament together, I thought it was a great day of tennis. It was a great time for me to take a break from singles and get into the doubles zone. It’s a chance to perfect volleys and serves so if I do go back to singles, those aspects are better.”
Central’s Akass Bhakta took 12th and Carson Michaelis 15th in the singles division, with Mustang teammates Keaton Beach and Ben Rost finishing 16th in doubles.
“I’m not disappointed at all,” Central coach Mike Goll said. “We made some lineup changes to give a break to everybody from their regular routines, and it was a chance for everybody to regroup and be ready for the second half of the season. “I was very pleased with Nolan and Will coming through after only one practice together and getting fifth.”
MUSTANGS FINISH THIRD AT EMPORIA
At Emporia, a strong finish in the doubles bracket helped Salina Central finish third in the team standings at the Emporia Invitational on Tuesday.
Central’s Will Hayes and Nolan Foth advanced to the championship match of the doubles division, falling 8-4 in the title match to top-seeded Andrew Bock and Alec Bergeron of Mill Valley.
The Mustangs also had a fourth-place finish in doubles from Keaton Beach and Hunter Hendrick, who finished the day 2-2.
Central’s Carson Michaelis also went 2-2 and finished sixth in the singles division, while teammate Akass Bhakta was seventh.
The Mustangs finished with 49 team points, trailing only team champion Mill Valley (59) and Washburn Rural (51).
STANGS WINS SALINA CENTRAL QUAD
Salina Central won 10 of 12 matches Friday, including a sweep of the No. 1 singles and doubles titles to claim the team championship at the Central quadrangular.
Central finished with 10 team points, followed by Maize South (8), Ellsworth (4) and Junction City (2).
Akass Bhakta went 3-0 to take the No. 1 singles title, with Miraj Bhakta winning two of his three matches and taking second in No. 2 singles.
Central’s Will Hayes and Nolan Foth were unbeaten in three matches to take the No. 1 doubles title. Keaton Beach and Hunter Hendrick placed second in No. 2 doubles with a 2-1 record.
SALINA CENTRAL FINISHES THIRD IN AVCTL CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Newton, Salina Central finished third in the team standings and Salina South was fourth at the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail (Division I) league meet on Monday.
Maize won the seven-team tournament with 48 points, followed by Newton (32), Central (26) and South (24).
South’s Gavin Aills and Joey Wilson finished second in the doubles division. Aills-Wilson, who finished seventh at league a year ago, went 3-1 on the day. That included a win in a tiebreaker in the quarterfinals, then a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Central’s Will Hayes and Nolan Foth in the semifinals. Aills-Wilson lost to top seed Kaden Jobe and Chase Schreiner of Maize in the title match 6-4, 6-2.
Hayes-Foth bounced back from their lone loss of the day, closing with an easy win in the third-place match.
South’s Carson Harris also finished third in the singles division, with his lone loss coming in the semifinals to eventual champion Brennan Sanders of Maize.
Central’s Keaton Beach and Hunter Hendrick took sixth in doubles, with Mustang teammates Akass Bhakta and Carson Michaelis finishing ninth and 10th respectively in singles. South’s Connor Talbott and Jace Irwin were 13th, and Eli Truhe placed 14th.
WILLIAM HAYES CLAIMS REGIONAL SINGLES TITLE
At Newton, Salina Central and Salina South will have one singles entry and one doubles entry in next week’s Class 5A state tournament at Topeka after competing in their regional event Friday.
Central’s William Hayes claimed the singles title by winning all three of his matches. Hayes, the No. 2 seed, defeated top-seeded Garrett Rogers of Valley Center 6-0, 6-0 in the championship.
After an opening bye he defeated Brandon Murrell of Newton 6-1, 6-0 in the quarterfinals and Brennen Sanders of Maize 6-4, 6-1 in the semifinals.
South’s Carson Harris qualified after finishing fifth. After a first-round bye, he lost to Ethan Pfeifer of Maize 6-2, 6-4, then defeated Akass Bhakta of Central 6-1, 6-2 and Newton’s Murrell 4-6 (4-7), 6-1, 7-5 in the fifth-place match. Harris was the No. 4 seed.
South’s second-seeded doubles team of Gavin Aills and Joey Wilson placed second, losing to top-seeded Kaden Job and Chase Schreiner of Maize 7-5, 6-3 in the championship. Aills and Wilson had a first-round bye, then defeated a team from Valley Center 6-1, 4-6 (10-5) in the quarterfinals and a team from Newton 7-5, 6-2 in the semis.
Third-seeded Nolan Foth and Carson Michaelis of Central qualified with a fifth-place finish. After a bye, they lost to a team from Newton 7-6 (7-2), 6-2, defeated a team from Valley Center 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) and downed Derek Kratzer and Tanner Ohnmeis of Maize 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in the fifth-place match.
Maize won the team title with 18 points, followed by Valley Center with 12. Central had 11 points and South nine. The 5A tournament will be played at Kossover Tennis Center, starting at 11:30 a.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday.
SINGLE AGAIN: HAYES BENEFITS FROM DOUBLES BREAK
When Salina Central’s Will Hayes made the switch from singles to doubles midway through the season, he had every reason to think it was permanent. Even when it wasn’t, he had no regrets.
“I think that was the best thing that could have possibly happened,” said Hayes, a junior, whose lastminute return to singles not only netted him a regional championship but also a firstround bye in the Class 5A state tennis championship at Topeka’s Kossover Tennis Center.
“Having that doubles break allowed me to not really relax but get into a different mindset and perfect different strokes that I used in doubles but don’t use as often in singles.”
Hayes, who placed ninth in singles last year at state, is one of two Central entries for the tournament, which gets under way at 11:30 a.m. today and concludes Saturday.
Fellow juniors Nolan Foth — Hayes’ partner for much of the season — and Carson Michaelis qualified fifth at the Newton regional. Salina South also has two slots with senior Gavin Allis and junior Joey Wilson placing second at regionals in doubles and junior Carson Harris fifth in singles.
Hayes, who brings an 183 record into the tournament, is the lone state veteran in the Salina contingent. That experience alone has made him a more confident player the second time around. “I think it’s going to benefit me,” he said. “I remember those (Central) guys last year, all those seniors. “They weren’t really nervous going into the tournament, and I was extremely nervous. Last year, I played too careful.”
Hayes was accompanied by two senior doubles teams a year ago, with JD McHenry and Zach Hilbig winning the championship.
“Last year, I didn’t really know what to expect,” Hayes said. “Just the fact that it was spread out between a couple of days was so much different. “I lost my first match, which was pretty crucial, because I wasn’t playing very well and had some nerves. By the second match I figured it out, and this year I don’t think nerves will be as much of a factor.”
Mike Goll said he felt moving Hayes back to singles gave Central the best chance to maximize its team potential heading into regionals. “He finished ninth as a sophomore, and he has improved so much this year,” Goll said. “He has improved his serve and has become a very consistent ground stroke player. “The field is really tough, but he’s just really competitive and I look for him to play confident and play well.”
HAYES RETURNS FOR DAY TWO
TOPEKA — Both Salina Central and Salina South will have one entry competing today in the consolation bracket of the Class 5A state tournament at Kossover Tennis Center.
Will Hayes lost his first match of the day, but won back-to-back matches in the consolation bracket to keep his season alive another day.
Hayes will be finishing between fifth and 12th in the singles division as he completes in the consolation bracket today. He dropped his opening round match with Andover's Jadyn Richardson in a super tiebreaker 4-6 6-3 (7).
Hayes avoided elimination with a pair of wins, defeating Topeka West's Christian Brown 9-1 and Emporia's Cameron Kienholz 9-3. The first match for Hayes this morning will be against Mill Valley's Parker Billings.
WILL HAYES FINISHES SEASON WITH 10TH PLACE FINISH
TOPEKA — Salina Central junior Will Hayes went 3-3 at the state tournament and placed 10th in the singles division. Hayes had to win back-to-back matches Friday to advance in the consolation bracket. He got a 9-3 win over Ethan Pfiefer of Maize Saturday, but fell in the ninth-place match to Valley Center's Garrett Rogers, 9-3.
Hayes finished his season at 21-6. Central was 12th in the team standings, one point behind Salina South.
Maize won the 5A team title with 30 points, edging Arkansas City and Wichita Carroll with 28 points each.