TOPEKA – At times during the Class 5A tennis tournament, Arkansas City’s Berett Hollis resembled the freshman player that he is, getting off to slow starts in both the semifinal and final matches.
But with the championship on the line, Hollis shook away his freshman tendencies and found the mindset to become a state champion.
Hollis rallied to post a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 victory over Topeka Seaman’s Todd Rilinger in the singles final on Saturday at Kossover Tennis Center.
“Mostly, it was just about mentality for me,” Hollis said. “Once I got my mind straight, more balls just kept going in the court, and I just felt really good in my game.”
Hollis showed sign of frustration in the first set against Rilinger, a senior who was the surprise of the tournament after not placing as a junior.
However, Hollis began to find his rhythm in the second set and then seized the momentum with a service break in the first game of the third set.
“It was really frustrating first set, because his game’s different than mine and it was just hard to get used to,” Hollis said. “But then I just kind of worked my way up.”
Hollis also dropped the first set in the semifinal match against Kapaun Mount Carmel’s Mason Born before battling back for a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 win.
Hollis finished the season with a record of 35-4.
“Words can’t even describe this,” Hollis said of the championship. “I didn’t plan on this. It’s just amazing.”
Newton’s doubles team of Josh Carlgren and Riley Kinsley advanced to the doubles final before falling 6-2, 7-6 to Salina Central’s Zachary Hampton and Jeffrey Michel.
Michel and Hampton dominated the tiebreaker in the second set, 7-0.
“Central played very, very well,” Newton coach Nick Sisson said. “We almost answered in the second set, but credit goes to Central. They did enough to get the job done.”
Carlgren and Kinsley finished the season 30-1.
“They had more wins than anyone Newton’s ever had on the team," Sisson said. “I know they’ll appreciate what they’ve done. After you win regionals and you win league, you want to win state. But they know they had a great season. They just ran into a team that played very, very well today.”
Salina Central 39, Newton 33, Topeka Seaman 24, Kapaun 23, Arkansas City 22, Pittsburg 20, Andover 20, Salina South 14, Goddard 13, St. Thomas Aquinas 12, Emporia 8, Lenexa St. James 8, Maize South 7, Topeka West 5, Mill Valley 3, Shawnee Heights 2, Eisenhower 1, Wichita Heights 1, Great Bend 1, Valley Center 1.
1. Hollis, Ark City, def. Rilinger, Seaman, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3; 3. Weiner, Salina Central, def. Born, Kapaun, 6-0, 6-1; 5. Lopez, Goddard, def. Ford, Newton, 9-2; 7. Piani, Kapaun, def. Cayton, Emporia, 9-4; 9. Woods, Maize South, def. Benham, Pittsburg, 9-5; 11. Gomez, Topeka West, def. McAfee, Pittsburg, 9-2.
1. Z. Hampton-Michel, Salina Central, def. Carlgren-Kinsley, Newton, 6-1, 7-6 (7-0); 3. Berneking-Carey, Salina South, def. Jackson-Krim, Aquinas, 6-1, 6-3; 5. Jones-Le, Andover, def. Hasman-Powers, Pittsburg, 9-5; 7. Rochat-Wilson, Andover, def. Book-Growney, St. James, 9-4; 9. Bontrager-Ford, Newton, def. Boyd-Waters, Seaman, 9-0; 11. T. Hampton-McHenry, Salina Central, def. Beeman-Perry, Ark City, 9-6.
1. Kendall, SM East, def. Santilli, SM East, 7-5, 6-1; 3. Patel, Blue Valley, def. Lowe, BV Northwest, 7-6, 6-1; 5. Kurzban, Manhattan, def. Irick, Lawrence, 9-6; 7. Crist, Olathe North, def. Bhaget, BV North, 9-4; 9. Ficke, Olathe Northwest, Medaris, Maize, 9-3; 11. Tong, Olathe Northwest, def. Petty, Olathe South, 9-3.
1. Katcher-White, BV Northwest, def. Samuelson-Samuelson, BV North, 6-2, 7-5; 3. Lowe-Mylavarapu, BV Northwest, def. Fornier-Flanagan, BV North, 6-3, 6-2; 5. Fabiano-Dearborn, Olathe Northwest, def. McDonald-Renft, SM East, 9-6; 7. Gay-Walsh, SM Northwest, def. Larabee-Schuetz, SM East, 9-6; 9. Osborn-Osborn, Washburn Rural, def. Fitchett-Buyle, Olathe Northwest, 9-0; 11. Byrd-Don, Olathe East, def. Vanvleet-Meek, Gardner-Edgerton, 9-6.