GODDARD – In the months before tennis season, whenever Max Moxley saw fellow senior Travis Osland in the hallway at Collegiate, Moxley would greet him with the same question: “So, Travis. Doubles? We’re playing doubles together?”
“He’d say, ‘I don’t know, I don’t know,’ ” Moxley said.
Osland, who had played singles the previous three seasons and finished fourth twice, capitulated and Saturday the duo won the Class 3-2-1A doubles title.
Osland and Moxley beat Independent’s team of Vishnu Nagireddy and Jacob Maddox 6-1, 6-2.
It was the first title for Osland and Moxley, who finished 16-2. Maddox won doubles titles as a freshman and junior.
“It means a lot, especially my senior year, to go out with a win like that,” Osland said.
Moxley added: “All season we’ve been talking about what it would be like to win it. When it becomes real, it’s pretty awesome.”
Osland and Moxley had to convince Collegiate coach Dave Hawley to bless their partnership, which wasn’t easy. Hawley was concerned because Osland is such a good singles player and he could have earned team points at state.
At the same time, winning singles with Kansas City Christian junior Johnny Goodwin in the field would be difficult. Goodwin won his second title, beating Sacred Heart’s Stratton Brown 6-1, 6-0. Goodwin (30-0) has made an oral commitment to play at Texas.
Goodwin beat Collegiate freshman Easton Ewy 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals, and Ewy took third, beating Marysville’s Tanner Wright 6-2, 6-0.
KC Christian won the team title, while Collegiate finished second and Hesston was third. Hesston’s highest finishers were the doubles team of Collin Martin and Isaac Penner, who took fifth, and Keegan LeFevre, who took fifth in singles.
“(I told them), ‘If you’re going to be together, you have to win (state),” Hawley said. “It’s a little pressure I put on them.”
Osland and Moxley accepted Hawley’s challenge, but it wasn’t a smooth ride.
Twenty-two of Collegiate’s 32 players also compete in another sport, and Moxley plays four, including baseball in the spring.
A pitcher for the Spartans, Moxley couldn’t hit with Osland on days he pitched and, often after pitching, his arm was too sore to hit. So Moxley and Osland practiced at 6 a.m. two or three times a week.
At regionals on May 10, Nagireddy and Maddox beat Osland and Moxley in the final.
“They pretty much rode home in silence,” Hawley said. “If you look at our picture, not one of them is smiling.”
Osland and Moxley used the loss as motivation and worked on changing their game plan.
“I was hitting a lot more forehands, and that seemed to work really well,” Osland said. “My forehand is definitely my best shot. I can hit it really hard.”
After Independent tied the first set at 1-all, Collegiate took the next five games. With Nagireddy serving to start the second set, the Panthers came back from double break point for the 1-0 lead. Collegiate went on to take a 5-1 lead.
Combine Osland’s forehand with his wicked serve and Moxley’s aggressiveness at the net, and it was a different sort of match from regionals. Osland finished the match with an ace.
“I think we probably should have played a little more aggressive and a little stronger that match,” Nagireddy said. “They were playing really, really well that match. It’s not like we were beating ourselves. They were definitely beating us in that match. Last week’s match, I wish it had been the same as that one, or on par with that.”
Finishing second was frustrating, especially because the Independent seniors knew they could play better. They finished 33-4.
“Yeah, it’s disappointing,” Maddox said. “We had an amazing season. It’s awesome to play together.”
KC Christian 39, Wichita Collegiate 32, Hesston 31, Conway Springs 18, Sterling 17, Leavenworth Immaculata 16, Sacred Heart 16, Wichita Independent 16, Marysville 13, Central Plains 12, Hutchinson Trinity 12, Southwestern Heights 8, Chaparral 7, Ellsworth 5, Meade 5, Ellinwood 2, Bishop Seabury 2, WaKeeney 2, Hoisington 1, Kingman 0, Norwich 0, Maranatha 0.
1. Johnny Goodwin, KC Christian, def. Stratton Brown, Sacred Heart, 6-1, 6-0. 3. Easton Ewy, Collegiate, def. Tanner Wright, Marysville, 6-2, 6-0. 5. Keegan LeFevre, Hesston, def. Grant Bellar, Conway Springs, 9-2. 7. Phillip Hernandez, Immaculata, def. Zack Breshear, Sterling, 9-8 (7-2); 9. Sam Rhee, Immaculata, def. Shawn Nulik, Chaparral, 9-5. 11. Isaac Herzog, Ellsworth, def. Kyler Comley, Sterling, 9-3.
1. Travis Osland-Max Moxley, Collegiate, def. Vishnu Nagireddy-Jacob Maddox, Independence, 6-1, 6-2. 3. Alex Kartsonis-Jackson Vander Ark, KC Christian, def. Layne Bieberle-Michael Ryan, Central Plains, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4). 5. Collin Martin-Isaac Penner, Hesston, def. Dominica DeLuca-Eric Banning, Hutch Trinity; 7. Grant Dahlsten-Garrett Roth, Hesston, def. Brian Vancuren-Jacob Koch, Conway Springs; 9. Turner Jones-William Vander Ark, KC Christian, def. Richard Navarrette-Ashton Lee, SW Heights; 11. Henry Weiner-Cameron Fair, Sterling, def. Garrett Blehm-Ryan Friesen, Meade.