Varsity Kansas

Boys tennis preview: Returning state champions headline Wichita’s best teams, players

Collegiate’s Max Wheeler
Collegiate’s Max Wheeler The Wichita Eagle

Valley Center and McPherson are the defending team champions out of the Wichita area in Kansas high school boys tennis heading into the 2019 season.

Here are the area’s top teams and players.

Top 10 Teams

1. McPherson

McPherson is the defending Class 4A champion. The Bullpups lost third-place singles player Andrew Sneed but bring back state runner-up Jarrod Nowak.

2. Collegiate

Collegiate will be inspired after failing to win the Class 4A title last year. Returning third-place finishers Max Wheeler and Luke Swan will headline the squad.

3. Valley Center

Valley Center had a magical run to its first boys state championship in any sport last year. The 5A champions bring back one of the state’s top players in Hayden Brauer.

4. Salina Central

Salina Central was just three points away from the 5A title. The Mustangs lose senior doubles champion Will Hayes but return his partner in Reed McHenry.

5. Maize

All-Metro doubles selection Tanner Ohnmeis/Chase Schreiner returns, looking to build off a Class 5A runner-up finish. The Eagles finished third, only eight points from a title.

6. Maize South

Maize South has a shot to make some noise in 2019. With headline singles player Garrison Wright in the lineup, the Mavericks look to build off a sixth-place state finish.

7. Bishop Carroll

Bishop Carroll has to replace arguably the best player in Kansas from last year in Rodney Steven. The Golden Eagles took fifth at state last year.

8. Arkansas City

Ark City finished sixth in Class 4A last year and will likely bump to 5A this year. The Bulldogs bring back one of the area’s top singles players in Pierce Klassen.

9. Independent

Independent star and Class 3-2-1 singles champion Bryson Toubassi will carry the Panthers’ points at state. They finished fifth at state last year.

10. Andover Central

The Jaguars have to replace one of the top doubles teams in Kansas in Jason Reilly/Jason Thompson, who finished runner-up in Class 4A last year but have a solid group.

Top 10 Players

1. Bryson Toubassi - Independent, So.

Toubassi cruised on his way to his first singles state championship. As a freshman, he finished 23-0 and earned All-Metro honors.

2. Hayden Brauer - Valley Center, Sr.

Brauer finished third in Class 5A singles last year. He beat St. James Academy’s Isaac Howes in the consolation title and helped Valley Center to the team championship.

3. Jarrod Nowak - McPherson, Sr.

Nowak is the returning Class 4A runner-up. He lost to Collegiate’s Wonjoon Cho (25-1) in the title match and helped McPherson tot he team championship.

4. Pierce Klassen - Arkansas City, Sr.

Klassen was the fourth-place finisher in Class 4A last year. He lost to McPherson’s Andrew Sneed in the consolation championship.

5. Garrison Wright - Maize South, Sr.

Wright is off to a hot start in 2019 after winning the Collegiate singles tournament Wednesday over Collegiate’s Max Wheeler.

6. Max Wheeler - Collegiate, Sr.

Wheeler will be the Collegiate headliner, looking to replace champion Wonjoon Cho and Lakelin Conrad.

7. Chase Schreiner - Maize, Sr.

Schreiner is part of the doubles pair that earned All-Metro honors last year. Alongside Tanner Ohnmeis, they finished runners-up in Class 5A.

8. Tanner Ohnmeis - Maize, Sr.

Ohnmeis and Schreiner form a pair with some of the top chemistry in Kansas after playing multiple sports together, including tennis.

9. Luke Swan - Collegiate, So.

Swan and potential 2019 partner Max Wheeler finished third in Class 4A doubles last year. As a freshman, he helped win the consolation championship.

10. Reed McHenry - Salina Central, So.

McHenry is the returning half of the Class 5A doubles championship team. He will be without former partner Will Hayes but should continue to contend.

3 Storylines

Collegiate motivated

Collegiate had a rare miss on a tennis state championship last year.

The Spartans have to replace their top two singles players in 4A champion Wonjoon Cho, who earned All-Metro honors, and Lakelin Conrad, who now plays at TCU.

Coach Dave Hawley said he is unsure whether last year’s third-place doubles part of Max Wheeler/Luke Swan will be kept together or separated into singles, but they will be the top point-scorers.

Striking gold twice

Last year, Valley Center won its first boys state championship in any sport with its Class 5A tennis title.

Hornets coach Dean Schulz has been at the helm for decades and finally found his winning group. Now he and the Hornets will look to repeat as champions.

Valley Center brings back its top singles player in Hayden Brauer, who could play doubles this season, but has to replace its top doubles pair in Ian Clifton/Garrett Rogers.

On track for four

Last year, Independent’s Bryson Toubassi made a name for himself on the high school scene.

As a freshman, he won the Class 3-2-1A singles title with ease, a 6-1, 6-1 win over Kansas City Christian’s Owen Vander Ark. He finished the season 23-0.

Toubassi will return in 2019 looking to capture another title on his route to four straight state championships.

Related stories from Wichita Eagle

Wichita Eagle preps reporter Hayden Barber brings the area updates on all high school sports while adding those hard-to-find human-interest stories on Wichita’s student-athletes.