WAMEGO — Wichita Collegiate's boys tennis team practiced on Sunday, a rarity to be sure. It was necessary because bad weather had forced the postponement of the Class 3-2-1A tournament Saturday.
It wasn't an intense practice, because the Spartans had already wrapped up the 3-2-1A team title Friday at Wamego Sports Complex by getting both singles players and both doubles teams into the semifinals.
It is Collegiate's third straight title and 19th overall. Wichita Independent took second, while Conway Springs finished fourth and Sterling was fifth.
"We had practice and we were all relaxed," Collegiate senior doubles player Brandon Somerhalder said. "We weren't really messing around because we wanted to go for the individual championships, but it was really relaxed because we had it in the bag."
Somerhalder and doubles teammate Miles Dunne defeated Conway Springs' Stratton Lange and Kayl Barkley 6-1, 6-2. It was Somerhalder and Dunne's second doubles title; they won in 2008 but were split up in 2009. Collegiate has won five straight doubles titles.
"I was waiting to do this since I had to back to singles," Dunne said. "It's been our goal all season.
Collegiate coach Dave Hawley added: "That doubles team may be, they have got to be, one of the best doubles teams we've ever had."
For Lange and Barkley, it was a bittersweet ending because they beat Collegiate's Paul Abromeit and Wyatt Kesler 6-1, 6-7 (0-7), 10-8 in the semifinals.
"We felt good, we had energy, but once we got to Collegiate, they shot us down," Barkley said. "They forced us to stay back a little more. They got to the net so quick, and their angles are so amazing, we couldn't stop it."
Collegiate failed to end its drought in singles — the Spartans' last singles winner was Matt Wright in 1996 — when Independent freshman Jake Norman defeated Collegiate junior Daniel Ritchie 6-0, 6-2.
Norman follows his brother, Ryan, who won three straight singles titles.
"It's tough to win as a freshman, against guys who are 2 and 3 years older," said Independent coach Simon Norman, Jake's father."... He was able to create some stuff. Daniel hits the ball real well when it's in the right area for him, and Jake's goal was to get it out of that area a little bit. It was the game plan, and he did it really well."
Jake Norman had some tough points against Ritchie, but he moved him all over the court and out of his comfort zone.
"I wanted to apply more spin to the ball because he likes to bang it up the baseline," Norman said. "So I just moved it around and hit some shots. It worked."
It was a frustrating match for Ritchie. Hawley told of one point when Ritchie hit a cross-court shot that Hawley said 99 percent of his opponents this season wouldn't have returned. But Norman did. While Ritchie got the winner on the next shot, it was a perfect example of how difficult Norman made it.
"Oh, I definitely had to go for a lot more winners than I'm used to going for," Ritchie said."... You go back to the serve line expecting to start the next point, and it's coming back."