2019

MUSTANGS WIN HESSTON TEAM TITLE

At Hesston, Salina Central opened the 2019 season by finishing first among eight teams competing at the Hesston Invitational on Tuesday.The Mustangs finished with 38 team points, edging runner-ups Wichita Trinity and Hesston with 32 points each.

Central’s Max Shaffer went 3-0 and won the No 1 singles division, and the Mustangs also had second-place finishes in both doubles divisions.

Reed McHenry and McCabe Green went 2-1 in No. 1 doubles, with Brooks Burgoon and Aidan Speer also going 2-1 in No. 2 doubles. Nolan Foley finished fourth in No. 2 singles.


 

SALINA CENTRAL WINS ANOTHER TEAM TITLE

At Wichita, Salina Central boys tennis team won its second tournament in as many tries this season, finishing first at the Andover Central Invitational on Thursday.

The Mustangs, who won Tuesday’s tournament at Hesston with an entirely different lineup, finished with 28 points in the eight-team tournament, topping runner-up Andover Central with 22.

Central had a first-place finish at No. 1 doubles from Chase Courbot and Collin Phelps, who went 3-0 on the day.

Austin Beatty also went 3-0 and won the No. 2 singles division.

The Mustangs had a second- place finish in No. 2 doubles from Miraj Bhakta and Logan Dean, and Brady Stack was fourth at No. 1 singles.


 

PERFECT FINISH FOR CENTRAL BOYS

At Newton, Central dominated the field of the Newton Invitational with first and second place finishes in both divisions.

In singles action, Mustang players Brady Stack and Austin Beatty each qualified for the finals, each winning their first three matches of the day.

In the final, Stack defeated Beatty, 8-7 with an 7-1 win in the tiebreaker.

In doubles the Central teams of Reed McHenry-Max Shaffer and Chase Courbot-McCabe Green also qualified for the finals with wins in each of their three matches.

In the finals, McHenry-Shaffer def. Courbot-Green, 8-1.


 

GODDARD INVITATIONAL FINISHES IN RAINOUT

At Goddard, Salina Central competed in the Goddard Invitational. The meet was Rained Out before completion, so no team scoring was available.

Individually, Collin Phelps went 3-1 on the day and was preparing to play for 5th place as the rains arrived. Nolan Foley finished at 2-2 and was preparing to play his match for 21st place.

The Doubles teams were able to get all 5 matches in. Placing 13th with a 3-2 record was Brooks Burgoon and Aidan Speer.

Placing 19th was the team of Miraj Bhakta and Logan Dean with a 3-2 record.

The Mustangs are back in action Tuesday as they host the Mustang Classic.




CENTRAL WINS MUSTANG CLASSIC

At Salina Central, the host Mustangs had all four entries finish in the top four Tuesday on the way to a first place team finish in the Mustang Classic.

Reed McHenry and Max Schaffer won the doubles title for Central with an 8-5 championship victory over Smoky Valley's Matt Lucas and Jake Lucas.

Chase Courbot and McCabe Green took fourth.

In singles, freshman Collin Phelps led the Mustangs with a second-place finish, falling 8-1 to Andover's top-seeded Jaydn Richardson in the final.

Sophomore Austin Beatty took fourth.

Central won the team title with 66 points, followed by Andover with 43 and Hesston in third with 39. Salina South was eighth with 13 points.

The top finisher for South was Griffin Peterson with 10th place in singles.



 

MUSTANGS SECOND BY A SINGLE POINT AT DERBY

At Derby, the Salina Central Mustangs came up a point short in the team standings. They scored 22 points compared to the Meet Champion, Maize Eagles with 23 points.

The Mustangs were lead by Austin Beatty with a first place finish at #2 singles. Brady Stack finished in 3rd place at #1 Singles.

Miraj Bhakta and Logan Dean reached the #2 Doubles final before falling to the Maize tandem of Kratzer and Rogers 8-1.

The #1 Doubles team of Brooks Burgoon and Aidan Speer took 5th.

The Mustangs will be back in action Saturday in McPherson.


 

MUSTANGS WIN TOPEKA WEST INVITATIONAL

At Topeka, Salina Central took two of the top three places in the doubles division and earned enough points to take first place at the Topeka West Invitational on Tuesday.

The Mustangs, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, finished with 86 team points, topping runnerup Kansas City Christian (No. 2, 3-2-1A) with 79 and Topeka Hayden (No. 2, 4A) in third with 69. Salina South was eighth in the 10-team meet, finishing with 31 points.

Central sophomores Reed McHenry and Max Shaffer won all six of their matches and finished first in the doubles division. Sophomores Brady Stack and McCabe Green finished the day with a 5-1 record and placed third.

In the singles division, sophomore Chase Courbot and freshman Collin Phelps both went 4-2, with Courbot taking fourth place and Phelps finishing sixth.

South’s top finish came in the doubles division where Griffin Peterson and Connor Talbott went 3-3 and placed 10th. Cayden Cassel took 14th in singles, one spot ahead of teammate Ethan Faunce. South’s doubles team of Miles Hammond and Donovan Reeves took 19th.

 

RAIN CUTS SHORT SALINA SOUTH INVITATIONAL

Intermittent rain showers led to a short delay at the start of the Salina South Invitational tennis tournament on Thursday. When those showers returned after 6 p.m., they forced the cancellation of the tournament’s final round of play.

Enough tennis was played in between to determine championship match participants and designate a team champion.

“It was one of those Kansas days,” South head coach Ryan Stuart said. “Showers kept popping up, it would be really windy and then it would stop.

“We were hoping to get it in and we were able to get a good portion completed. Almost everyentry got through three of four rounds, so we

got the majority of it played and felt like it was still a productive day.”

Manhattan won the team title with 59.5 points, as the Indians had both players reach the championship match in singles. Valley Center was second with

42.5 points, a half point in front of Salina Central in third. Smoky Valley (39 points) was fourth and South (33.5) took fifth in the eight-team meet.

Salina Central had two entries competing in the third-place matches — one each in the singles and doubles bracket.

Central sophomores Brooks Burgoon and Aiden Speer defeated No. 3 seeds Coleman Shanks and Alex Jones of Andover in the quarterfinals. Burgoon and Speer lost to Smoky Valley’s Matt Lucas and Jacob Lucas in the semifinals, 8-1.

Mustang sophomore Austin Beatty won his first two matches in the singles draw, but ran into top-seed Daniel Harkin of Manhattan in the tournament’s semifinals. Harkin, who finished fourth at the Class 6A state tournament a year ago, defeated Beatty 8-1.

Beatty was set to face Zac Wyse of Hays in the singles third-place match. Burgoon and Speer were on the court preparing to face Smoky Valley’s Cole Brumbaugh and Johann Rauchholz for third place in doubles.

Central’s Nolan Foley and South’s Cayden Cassel and Griffin Peterson all won their first-round match in singles and all three lost in the quarterfinals. Peterson lost in the consolation semifinals and was set to play in the seventhplace match. Cassel and Foley were unable to complete their consolation semifinal against one another, with Cassel leading Foley 5-4 when the match was stopped.

South’s Ethan Faunce and Connor Talbott were in the seventh-place match in doubles, with South’s Miles Hammond and Donovan Reeves facing Central’s Miraj Bhakta and Logan Dean for 13th place.

Smoky Valley’s Lucas and Lucas had just started their championship match against top-seeded Hayden Brauer and Colby Swift of Valley Center. The singles championship match featured Harkin against Manhattan teammate Robert Zhang.


 

MUSTANGS KEEP ROLLING, WIN SALINA CENTRAL INVITATIONAL

When Reed McHenry and Max Shaffer admit their toughest match of the day came against their own teammates, it says quite a bit about how deep the Salina Central tennis team is this season.

There are numerous other examples, including the fact the No. 1-ranked Mustangs not only won their own Central Invitational on Saturday with a whopping 126 points (out of a possible 136), but had their second team finish tied for fifth in the 13-team tournament.

“As (former coach) Jim LoVullo would say, ‘It’s a great day to be a Mustang,’” Central coach Mike Goll said. “The tradition continues with outstanding play and we’re rounding into form at the right time.”

With only two weeks until the start of postseason competition, McHenry and Shaffer remain unbeaten as doubles partners this season. On a warm, breezy afternoon, the Central sophomores had an 8-5 victory in their quarterfinal, then needed a tiebreaker to defeat fellow Mustang sophomores Brady Stack and McCabe Green in the semifinals 8-7 (6).

“The team we played in the finals was good,” McHenry said. “But I think (the semifinal) was the toughest match we had today.

“I wish Brady and McCabe had been seeded better and we could have played them in the finals.”

As it turned out, the only loss of the day for Stack-Green was to their own teammates. They had little trouble in an 8-1 win over Goddard’s Derek Phillippe and Jackson LeFevre in the third-place match.

McHenry and Shaffer finished their day by defeating Goddard Eisenhower’s Kyle Hopper and Nathan Watson 8-4 in the title match and are now 18-0 in four tournaments as doubles partners.

“I think there’s definitely some improvements we can make, but we’re only going to get better the more we play together,” Shaffer said. “I think we’ll be ready in time for regional, league and state.

“We’re both really strong players and get along very well so that helps our chemistry on the court.”

McHenry and Shaffer appeared to be in good position in their semifinal when they led 7-4 and had not lost a game on serve in the match. Stack and Green not only rallied to force the tiebreaker, but had two match-point opportunities up 6-4 in the seven-point tiebreak.

McHenry and Shaffer followed with four unanswered points, with the final point on a McHenry serve that could not be returned cleanly.

“We played them in a tournament at Topeka West and won 8-2,” McHenry said. “I think both teams were playing pretty good that day.

“Normally when we play them we play a little better and play with more energy.”

“That was a good win because we weren’t necessarily performing our best,” Shaffer said. “We started getting our head in the game and got more consistent, and the tiebreaker continued because we realized that we were in a bad position.

“You learn something from it. We actually had match point three times before we went into the tiebreaker and it showed us we need to focus more on finishing the point more than making a fancy last shot to end the game.”

Central had both of its singles entries reach the semifinals, with sophomore Chase Courbot and freshman Collin Phelps closing the day by facing one another in the third-place match.

It was the first time they met in a tournament this year, with Phelps getting the 8-4 victory over Courbot for third.

“We’ve had some battles in practice where I win some and he wins some,” Phelps said. “And I look forward to playing him some more in practice.

“You always want all your teammates to do as well as they can but it’s tough when you’re playing each other.”

Courbot faced eventual champion Jarrod Nowak of McPherson in the semifinals and lost 8-3. Phelps fell 8-4 to runner-up Pierce Klaassen of Arkansas City in their semifinal.

“I was really pleased with the match against Pierce,” Phelps said. “We played at Goddard earlier this year and I lost 8-0. I thought I hit my ground strokes really well today and had a lot more consistency this time.”

The singles title match featured a pair of talented seniors, with Nowak’s 8-4 victory his third win Klaassen this season.

“It was a good win and there were some tough teams here,” said Nowak, who has committed to play at Kansas Newman next season. “Klaassen is a tough player and he gets to a lot of balls. He had me moving a lot.”

Central’s top finish from its second team came from Brooks Burgoon and Aidan Speer, who went 4-1 and placed ninth. Austin Beatty was 10th and Nolan Foley finished 11th in singles, with Miraj Bhakta and Logan Dean placing 16th in doubles.

Salina South finished 12th in the team standings with 41 points.


 

INDEPENDENCE AND MAIZE SHARE DOUG GAYER CLASSIC TITLE

At McPherson, Independence and Maize both scored 16 points to share the first annual Doug Gayer Classic title. The meet was a makeup from the previous weekend. Salina Central finished 5th with 4 points.

Nolan Foley placed 4th in #2 Singles to lead the Mustang attack. Austin Beatty placed 5th in #1 Singles.

In Doubles, Brooks Burgoon and his partner Aidan Speer finished 5th at #1 Doubles. The #2 Doubles team of Miraj Bhakta and Logan Dean finished the day with an injury default and placed 6th.

The Mustangs are back in action Tuesday as they travel to Emporia.


 

MUSTANGS WIN AGAIN

At Emporia, Salina Central had all four of its entries finish in the top four, giving the Mustangs enough points to win the team title at the Emporia Invitational on Thursday.

Ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, Central finished with 58 team points. Manhattan was runnerup in the eight-team meet with 52 points and Emporia was third with 39.

Central’s Reed McHenry and Max Shaffer improved to 22-0 this season with four wins Thursday, finishing first in the doubles division. Mustang teammates Brady Stack and McCabe Green took third place in doubles with a 3-1 record.

Freshman Collin Phelps reached the finals of the singles division and took second, going 3-1. Chase Courbot took fourth place in singles for Central with a record of 2-2.

The Mustangs are back in action Monday as they travel to Maize to compete in the AVCTL League Championships.


 

MUSTANGS CLAIM AVCTL LEAGUE TITLE

At Maize,
the Salina Central boys tennis team made it a clean sweep in titles on Monday, winning the singles division, doubles division and team championship at the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail (Division I) league meet at the Maize South High School courts.

The Mustangs, who tied for the league title with Maize a year ago, finished with 49 points to get past the runnerup Eagles with 42. Salina South finished sixth in the team standings.

Sophomores Reed McHenry and Max Shaffer remain unbeaten as doubles partners this season, winning all three matches Monday instraight sets. Freshman Collin Phelps gave the Mustangs a first-place finish in singles.

“I was very pleased,” Central coach Mike Goll said. “We had some people really step up.

“We had a league champion doubles team with Reed and Max, and then our freshman made a statement for himself by winning a singles title. Those three guys led the way, but the others came through and got us the points we needed to make it a true team effort.”

McHenry and Shaffer, both sophomores, had a 6-0, 6-2 victory in the semifinals, then faced Maize seniors Chase Schreiner and Tanner Ohnmeis in the final.

Three of the four participants in the league title match also played in the 5A state title match in 2018, when McHenry and then partner Will Hayes defeated Schreiner-Ohnmeis in three sets. McHenry-Shaffer won this time 6-4, 6-4.

Phelps went to three sets in the semifinals, defeating Hutchinson’s Jo Blake 6-4, 4-6, 7-5. Bode Carter of Maize also advanced with a three-set semifinal win over Central’s Chase Courbot, with Phelps completing his day with a 7-6, 6-2 victory over Carter in the championship match.

After the semifinal loss, Courbot took an injury default loss in the tournament’s third place match to Blake.

Central’s doubles team of Brady Stack and McCabe Green, after losing 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals to Schreiner-Ohnmeis, finished the day strong with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Maize in the third-place match.

“Brady and McCabe played awesome in their semifinal against the team that finished second at state last year,” Goll said. “I was really pleased with how they answered after getting beat in the semifinal. They will definitely be a team to reckon with when we get to regional and state.

“Chase has been dealing with a nagging back injury that he’s been trying to treat all week. He said if he needed to go out for that third-place match he would. He was willing to do whatever we needed him to do, but once we had the team title wrapped up, there really was no reason for him to go out there in that much pain.”

South’s Connor Talbott had the Cougars' top finish, placing eighth in the singles division. The Cougars doubles team of Griffin Peterson and Ethan Faunce, after a loss in the opening round, came back with three straight wins in the consolation bracket and placed ninth.

Both South and Central will compete in the Class 5A regional tournament Friday at McPherson High School.


MUSTANGS WIN 5A REGIONAL TITLE

At McPherson, Salina Central set itself up for a potential big finish to the 2019 season, qualifying its entire team for next week’s Class 5A boys state tennis tournament. The Mustangs scored 22 points to win the 5A regional team title Friday at the McPherson High School courts. Maize was the regional runner-up with 12 points, with Valley Center taking third with eight points.

The 5A state tournament begins Friday, May 10 at Kossover Tennis Center in Topeka. Central entries took second and third in both the regional singles and doubles brackets.

Freshman Collin Phelps was runner-up in singles, with sophomore Reed McHenry and Max Shaffer taking second in doubles.

Phelps (23-7) rallied from a set down to win his quarterfinal match, then won 6-2, 6-0 over Newton’s Jonah Schloneger in the semifinals. He faced top-seed Jarrod Nowak of McPherson in the title match, with Nowak (33-1) winning 6-0, 6-0.

McHenry and Shaffer were unbeaten this season as doubles partners and the regional’s top seeds won each of their first three matches in straight sets. McHenry-Shaffer (28-1) then won the opening set of the title match before Valley Center seniors Hayden Brauer and Colby Swift (29-1) rallied for the 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 win.

Central sophomores Braden Stack and McCabe Green took their only loss of the day against McHenry-Shaffer in the semifinals. Stack-Green (18-5) finished with a 6-4, 6-4 win in the third-place match over Maize seniors Chase Schreiner and Tanner Ohnmeis.

Central sophomore Austin Beatty began the regional as the No. 4 seed and took his only loss against Nowak in the semifinals. Beatty (20-9) also won his third-place match, defeating Schloneger 6-1, 6-1.

Salina South did not have an entry advance to state. South’s Ethan Faunce and Griffin Peterson came back from a set down to win their regional opener, but were eliminated with back-to-back losses in the quarterfinals and consolation semifinals.

Class 3-2-1A At Hesston, Sacred Heart seniors Trace Leners and Charlie Skidmore will represent the Knights at next week’s 3-2-1A state tournament in Prairie Village. Leners and Skidmore avoided elimination with a three-set victory in the consolation semifinals of the Hesston regional. They lost to Smoky Valley’s Cole Brumbaugh and Johann Rauchholz in the fifth-place match, 6-0, 6-3.


 

MUSTANGS LOCKED IN FOR 5A TENNIS RUN

At Topeka, Head coach Mike Goll’s message to his young Salina Central tennis team heading into this weekend’s Class 5A boys state tournament is fairly simple — don’t try to do too much.

The Mustangs have been the No. 1-ranked team in 5A since the beginning of the season, then put themselves in good position to be successful at state by qualifying their entire team during last week’s regional at McPherson.

The 5A state tournament will be played Friday and Saturday at Kossover Tennis Center in Topeka. Matches Friday begin at 10 a.m., with a 9 a.m. start Saturday.

Central’s state qualifiers include five sophomores and a freshman, but they aren’t completely new to this level of competition. Four of the six played at state as freshmen in 2018 when the Mustangs finished second in the team standings, only three points behind Valley Center.

“It’s going to take all six kids, all four entries contributing,” Goll said. “But we’ve also told them you don’t have to play out of your mind. “We need them to play to their ability. If you do that, sometimes you surprise yourself and take a step above the level you thought you were at.”

While Central has been ranked No. 1 the entire season, the top five haven’t changed since April 8. The Mustangs are followed by No. 2 St. James Academy, Maize South at No. 3, Maize is No. 4 and Arkansas City at No. 5. Each of the top four teams qualified their entire team for state.

“Regional is where you set the table and get everything ready for your state position,” Goll said. “Taking second and third in both singles and doubles put us in good position. You aren’t fighting a big dog from the start and can work your way in. “I see a three-team race with us, Maize South and St. James Academy, and all three got everybody in.”

Central’s four returning state participants will all compete in doubles, while the two newcomers will be in the singles bracket. Sophomores Reed McHenry and Max Shaffer own a 28-1 record as doubles partners this season. McHenry was a doubles state champion with then partner Will Hayes a year ago. The lone loss for McHenry and Shaffer came in last week’s regional final, where they were up a set in the title match before losing to Valley Center seniors Hayden Brauer and Colby Swift, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4. “(McHenry and Hayes) had basically the same situation last year, where they were undefeated going into their last regular-season meet,” Goll said. “They were beaten by a team from Washburn Rural and that seemed to spur them on. “Hopefully it works in our favor as a wakeup call. It’s a week later this time than last year, but getting beat in the regional finals doesn’t hurt us. It will actually separate us to the other half of the bracket from Valley Center.”

Sophomores Brady Stack and McCabe Green are 18-5 this season, with three of the five losses coming to McHenry and Shaffer. They avenged one of their other two losses in the regional third-place match with a win over Maize seniors Chase Schreiner and Tanner Ohnmeis. “For our doubles teams to have the opportunity to play against each other in practice does nothing but improve both teams,” Goll said. “Brady and McCabe are right there and they’ve learned a lot from the losses they’ve had. They are our No. 2 doubles team but they don’t play like No. 2s anymore.”

Central sophomore Austin Beatty and freshman Collin Phelps will compete in the singles division. Phelps is 23-7 and finished second at regionals, while Beatty is now 20-9 and was third. Sophomore Chase Courbot competed for the Mustangs in singles at the league tournament, but an injury took him out of the postseason lineup. “That shows just how deep we are,” Goll said. “We lost a solid player in Chase Courbot and had another solid player ready to step in his place. “We had a couple more kids that could have made a run through regional, but they are stuck behind good kids. It’s a good problem to have and for some reason, nobody feels sorry for us.”


 

MUSTANGS ENJOY SUCCESSFUL FIRST DAY

At Topeka, The Salina Central Mustangs are right where they want to be. Well, not quite yet, but close enough that Mike Goll declared the first day of the Class 5A state tennis tournament at Kossover Tennis Center an unqualified success.

'We're basically in the driver's seat,' Goll said after the Mustangs advanced all four entries to Saturday’s final rounds with guarantees of placing. 'It’s going to be a fun day (Saturday). 'We’re going to go out and have fun playing tennis and let the team totals take care of themselves.'

Central is sitting pretty, especially in doubles, where Reed McHenry and Max Shaffer will face teammates Braden Stack and McCabe Green in a semifinal with the winner playing for the championship. 'We couldn’t control the way the seeds were set up and we ended up in the same side of the bracket, so we couldn’t ask for more than have them both in the semifinals,' Goll said. 'They had a couple of tough matches and persevered, and now someone is going to the finals. 'The bad things is having to play a civil war against ourselves, especially since they’ve already done that three times this year. But they got better playing each other all year, so it should be a good match.'

Sophomores McHenry and Shaffer won the three previous matchups and would like nothing better than to reach the finals and face Valley Center seniors Hayden Brauer and Colby Swift, who handed them their only loss of the season last week at the McPherson regional. But first they must get past their teammates, also both sophomores.

All four semifinalists came from the McPherson regional. Brauer and Swift will face Maize’s Chase Schreiner and Tanner Ohnmeis, who incidentally lost to McHenry and former partner Will Hayes in last year’s state final.

Central also is well positioned in singles, where freshman Collin Phelps and sophomore Austin Beatty both are in the consolation quarterfinals with a chance to finish as high as fifth. They can do no worse than 12th. 'They had some really tough matches early, but they played well,' Goll said. 'To be able to have the entire team able to play on Saturday is fantastic. 'We’re definitely taking the team route.'

In doubles, Stack and Green needed three victories to reach the semis, beating Derek Kratzer and Pierson Rogers 6-4, 6-1 in the quarterfinals. McHenry and Shaffer, who received a first-round bye, knocked off Emporia’s Cameron Kienholz and Taylor Moorman, 6-2, 6-3 in their quarterfinal.

Phelps, after a first-round bye in singles, went three sets to beat Devin McAfee of Pittsburg in the second round, then fell 6-0, 6-1 to Arkansas City’s Pierce Klaassen in the quarterfinals. Beatty won his opener, lost his second-rounder and then picked up two victories in the consolation bracket before calling it a day. The Mustangs had two head-to-head victories against Maize, which is the only team with an outside chance of catching them for the team title.

In singles, all four regional champions advanced to the semifinals, including McPherson senior Jarrod Nowak.


 

MUSTANGS RETURN TO THE TOP OF 5A TENNIS

At Topeka, A freshman dominated team finished three points out of first place a year ago. With five sophomores and a freshman in the lineup this weekend, the Salina Central boys tennis team rolled to a Class 5A state championship.

Now imagine what the future holds for this group of Mustangs. The Mustangs held the No. 1 ranking throughout the 2019 season. They held the No. 1 spot in the team standings Saturday afternoon after the completion of the 5A tourney.

'We had five freshmen out there (last year) and they came up three points short,' Central coach Mike Goll said. 'It was like a mission for them. 'They wanted to get out there and finish the job. They've got a state title under their belts now as sophomores, so it's pretty sweet.'

Central sent four entries to state — two singles players, two doubles teams — and all four earned points. Sophomores Reed McHenry and Max Shaffer took second in the doubles division, with sophomores Brady Stack and McCabe Green placing fourth.

Freshman Collin Phelps was seventh in singles and sophomore Austin Beatty took 11th, both in their first state meet appearance.

'You can't ask for anything better,' Shaffer said. 'We all won the matches we needed to win to get the job done.'

Central's 40 team points led to the 12th state title in the program's history, including nine in the last 16 years. Maize South was second with 28 points and St. James Academy took third with 25.

'Everyone placed and that was huge,' Stack said. 'We got two doubles teams in the top four so that was big. 'It was just a really great team effort. Our league team, one of our teammates (Chase Courbot) got hurt and we had to have Austin jump in and he did great. It shows how strong we are, especially considering how young we are. We've got a bright future.'

Green agreed. 'We won the state title as a team,' he said. 'Last year we were so close to winning it and this year we finally did it and that's what we were working toward all season. 'And getting top four as two sophomores is pretty good, too.'

The Mustangs were guaranteed to have one doubles team playing for a championship Saturday after McHenry and Shaffer were paired against Green and Stack in the semifinals following quarterfinal wins on Friday. It was the fourth meeting in a tournament this season for the Central doubles teams, with McHenry and Shaffer winning the first three. With the stakes considerably higher in this match, McHenry and Shaffer were able to hold off three set-point opportunities for their opponent in the opening set to tie it at 6-all, but Green and Stack never trailed in the tiebreaker to take the first set 7-6 (3).

“It’s always tough playing your teammates because you want everybody to succeed,” Shaffer said. “We started off a little slow but in the second and third sets we made adjustments to help us win.” McHenry and Shaffer trailed 2-1 in the second set but won eight of the next nine games while building a 3-0 lead in the third. They closed it out from there for the 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-1 victory. “It’s tough because they’re your friends,” Green said. “It was definitely tough once they started going and finding their groove, because then they were on fire.” “It’s always tough having to play your team in the semifinals and we seem to have done that the whole season,” Stack said. “We were pretty happy to be there and got a good draw (Friday). We played a great match against our teammates and fell short.”

The 5A doubles championship match was a rematch of last week’s regional final at McPherson, where Valley Center seniors Hayden Brauer and Colby Swift handed McHenry and Shaffer their first loss of the season in a match that went three sets. Saturday’s title match followed a similar pattern, with McHenry and Shaffer winning the opening set, then starting the second with a break on the way to a 3-1 advantage. Brauer and Swift won five of the next six games to force a third set, then again rallied from a 3-1 deficit. Tied at 3-all, Central had two game-point opportunities with a chance to break on Swift’s serve but could not capitalize. The next game they let a 40-15 lead get away and trailed 5-3. After Central won the opening point of the final game, the Hornets ran off the final four to finish the 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory.

“I think we played pretty well but I don’t think we deserved to win,” McHenry said. “They played better and they deserved it. “We made it close but you can’t be mad about it. They played better and we didn’t play to our full potential.” “I thought we were in good position,” Shaffer said of the 3-1 lead in the final set. “They were playing pretty well and I’m not going to say we weren’t, but we’ve definitely played better in the past. “Both teams played very well today.”

Green and Stack faced Maize seniors Chase Schreiner and Tanner Ohnmeis in the thirdplace match, which was also a rematch from last week’s regional. This time Schreiner and Ohnmeis, who were state runners-up in 2018, got past Green and Stack for a 6-2, 6-3 win.

The top five finishes in 5A singles were all by seniors, with Phelps turning in the best finish by a freshman in the singles division. While the Central doubles teams were meeting in the semfinals, it was a win by Phelps in the consolation quarterfinals Saturday that guaranteed the Mustangs would win the team title. He finished the state meet 3-2, including a 9-2 win over Matthew Connor of St. Thomas Aquinas in the seventh- place match.

Beatty was added to the postseason lineup when Courbot, another sophomore, suffered a late-season back injury. Beatty went 3-1 on the opening day to guarantee a state medal, then ended his weekend with a 9-4 victory over Calvin Murrell of Maize for 11th place.

“We always talk Mustang Team, Mustang Family,” Goll said. “These guys are all really close knit kids and there is nobody that outworks them. They are hammering the ball in the offseason and it makes a huge difference.

“I don’t care how inexperienced they are, when you get that much work put into it ... this week they gained the experience and the next two years everybody will know who they are. They are going to have a target on their backs, which is exactly what we want.”

 

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