Carroll seniors, East freshman take City League tennis titles
Bishop Carroll was about five rallies away from losing out on the 2019 City League boys tennis title.
Saturday, the Golden Eagles held off rival Kapaun Mt. Carmel to bring home the league’s top honor. But Tuesday, the teams met in the final regular-season match of the season. Carroll won 7-2, but five matches went to a super tiebreaker. The Eagles won all five.
Those points gave Carroll an undefeated City League season and an extra team point going into Saturday’s City League tournament, exactly what it needed to top the Crusaders.
“We knew coming in it was going to be a battle,” coach Darren Huslig said. “It’s cool to look back to where this group of seniors started as freshmen to where they are now.”
The 2019 title was meaningful for the Golden Eagles, Huslig said. He got to watch his son, Braeden, and his doubles partner Jack Aruskevicius win the league championship, beating Northwest’s Logan Flippin and Koby Nickel 6-1, 6-1.
Braeden missed much of last season with a broken tibia and fibula suffered during a soccer game. He said getting back and winning the City League was special.
“The biggest thing for me was being able to move again, and I have,” he said. “That has obviously been big for us and myself.”
Aruskevicius was also frustrated last year. Although he played, he didn’t perform in singles as he wanted, coach Huslig said. He came back in 2019, joined an old friend and fellow senior in doubles and hit the payoff.
“Our win over Kapaun was pretty huge today,” he said. “It was really important heading into regionals.”
Carroll’s roster is filled with miniature stories that helped secure Saturday’s title. Huslig said he doesn’t cut any players at the start of the season. He simply holds two practices.
Christian Martin spent his first two years in the second practice. Huslig said had he made cuts, Martin never would have been on the team.
“The season is not done yet by any means, but look at him now,” Huslig said. “He reached the No. 2 doubles championship match and helped his team to a City League title.”
East freshman flies to title
Nick Grabon looked to the stands after his final match with the confidence of a senior.
He isn’t one though. Saturday was Grabon’s first City League tennis tournament, and he won the singles championship over Kapaun’s Logan Foss 6-1, 6-2. He said he has been playing most of his life, so Saturday was a representation of that hard work.
“I have been playing with most of these kids for a really long time,” Grabon said. “I just have to put all my experience to my advantage. You have to zone everything else out and focus on just that one match.”
Grabon ripped through the top City League singles field. In three matches, he dropped only five sets. Combined, he finished the day 36-5. He said he had a lot of confidence coming into Saturday.
“I believed in myself,” he said. “I knew I could win if I played the conditions correctly. This gives me even more confidence going into the next couple of matches because it only gets harder from here.”
Kapaun takes tournament
Although Carroll walked off the courts Saturday as the overall league winner, Kapaun was the tournament champion.
The Crusaders played three into the four tournament championship matches. Logan Foss reached the No. 1 singles title match, losing to Wichita East’s Nick Grabon 6-1, 6-2. Gavin Bhargava won the No. 2 singles title. And Sam Mohr/Shae Cowan won the No. 2 doubles championship.
Kapaun’s tournament title marks the second this school year, matching the girls’ victory over Carroll in the fall.