Hesston and Central Plains each advanced one singles player and both doubles teams to Saturday’s Class 3-2-1A final day, but better placings boosted Central Plains to the team title with 41 points.
The Swathers (29 points) put up a fight, including winning the doubles championship behind seniors Grant Dahlsten and Garrett Roth. Dahlsten and Roth beat Central Plains’ Brady Rugan and Devin Ryan in the final 6-1, 6-3. Dahlsten-Roth finished fourth a year ago.
Central Plains used a third in singles and a runner-up and fifth place in doubles to counter Hesston’s doubles title and ninth and 12th places in singles.
Dahlsten said the title reflects the improvements they have made.
“Garrett and I have both gotten a lot better over the summer,” Dahlsten said. “We’ve improved our game a lot. In addition to that, (there is) the extra year of playing together. We just move together better.”
This was a swan song for the partnership, as Roth will be heading to Bethel College to play tennis next year and Dahlsten will attend Dallas Baptist.
“We knew we had something to prove after last year,” Roth said. “We played a good team in the semis last year (Kansas City Christian’s Alex Kartsonis and Jackson VanderArk), and they went on to win it, so we knew we could do it coming into the season and into the tournament.”
Grant’s father, Hesston coach Mark Dahlsten, was happy with his team’s effort. The Swathers also have a third-place team finish from 2014, so this runner-up trophy will look nice alongside the previous years, he said.
“It was a lot of fun this year, a lot of fun,” Mark Dahlsten said. “We had played (Central Plains) in a dual and had beaten them, 5-4, but in tournament format they had beaten us the other two times we’ve seen them.”
In singles, Independent sophomore Wonjoon Cho used strong forehand shots to make the final against Salina Sacred Heart junior Stratton Brown. The two had met in the 2015 semifinals, and Brown won that match 6-4, 6-2. In this final, Brown again solved Cho’s game and took a 6-2, 6-1 decision to cap a 31-0 season.
Independent finished third as a team, taking Cho’s runner-up finish and pairing it with 11th- and 12th-place finishes in doubles.
Cho (29-3) said that Brown had all the answers for his powerful forehand.
“My forehand’s my weapon, and I try to hit as many forehands as I possibly can,” Cho said. “Stratton just countered it. His forehand’s so clean, he puts it back in play, and I’m just in trouble.
“He’s a lot more consistent, and his level of play is a lot more stable than mine. I’ll play an unbelievable point, then double-fault the next. He’s overall a better player.”
Team scores – Central Plains 41; Hesston 29; Independent 25; Sterling 24; Conway Springs 21; Kansas City Christian 19; Salina Sacred Heart 18; Scott City 16; Hutchinson Trinity 14; Maranatha Academy 9; Trego Community 9; Chaparral 9; South Barber 8; Norwich 7; Immaculata 2; Hoisington 2; 17.
Singles – 1. Stratton Brown, SH, def. Wonjoon Cho, Ind, 6-2, 6-1; 3. Michael Ryan, CP, def. Kyler Comley, Ster, 6-4, 6-1; 5. Jackson VanderArk, KCC, def. William Weiner, Ster, 9-2; 7. Haxton, TC, def. Bowlin, Mara, 9-5; 9. Roe, N, def. Paul, KCC, 9-0; 11. Alloway, CS, def. Holthus, H, 9-2.
Semifinals – Brown def. Comley 6-0, 6-1; Cho def. Ryan 6-2, 6-1.
Doubles – 1. Grant Dahlsten-Garrett Roth, H, def. Brady Rugan-Devin Ryan, CP, 6-1, 6-3; 3. Dylan Hutchins-Bo Hess, SC, def. Dylan DeLuca-Jacob Harcrow, HT, 3-6, 6-6, 7-5, 8-6; 5. Kade Beck-Brett Liebl, CP, def. Lucas Mies-Jacob Winter, H, 9-7; 7. Derek Douglas-Denver Hartson, Chap, def. Grant Cantrell-Spencer Kimmell, SB, 9-4; 9. Kendrick Weaver-Jorge Morales, H, def. Jed Chitwood-Derek Pauly, CS, 9-6; 11. Ayden Bolin-Derrick Tran, Ind, def. Matthew Link-Gabe Carnley, Ind, 9-6.
Semifinals – Dahlsten-Roth def. Hutchins-Hess 6-4, 6-3; Rugan-Ryan def. DeLuca-Harcrow 6-2, 7-5.