GCHS roundup: Tennis second, swimmers third in meets
By BRETT MARSHALL
The Garden City High School boys tennis team, using a first-place finish in No. 2 doubles by Sebastian Kyaw, claimed a runner-up team finish on Wednesday in the weather-delayed Topeka Invitational.
The Buffs finished in a tie with Maize for second with 30 points, behind winner Topeka-Washburn Rural's 35 points. Manhattan was right behind with 29 points and Topeka High rounded out the top five teams with 25 points. Nine teams competed in the event. The Buffs won this event in 2012.
"I was proud of the way the boys played today and they wanted to defend, but just came up short," GCHS coach Rod Robinson said.
Kyaw swept through his division by rolling over Dustin Hayes of Manhattan (8-2), Westin Biays of Derby (8-2), Eric Seals of Washburn Rural (8-3) and Jackson Schneider of Lawrence-Free State before winning the championship match in straight sets over Jordan Burlie of Maize, 6-2, 6-4.
"He dominated his field today," Robinson said. "No one could keep up with his consistence and placement. He played some of his best tennis of the season today."
Both doubles teams for the Buffs finished in fourth, going 3-2 for the day, while No. 1 singles player Brian Clarke took fifth, also posting a 3-2 mark.
Evan Riggs and Denton Keller, the No. 1 doubles duo, won their first three matches over Tyler Shima/Kyler Cunningham of Topeka West (8-2), Dmitriev/Sam Solis of Free State (8-1) and David Gernon/Michael Joens of Topeka High (8-3). Then, they dropped their final two matches, first to Daric Sanders and Richard Corbett of Maize (8-4) and a tiebreaker to J.T. Turnley/Kirkland Lambert of Manhattan, 2-6, 6-2 (10-8).
"They played some great tennis then lost some momentum at the end," Robinson said of his top doubles duo. "They led most of the super tie-breaker in that last match, but just could not finish off the Manhattan team."
It was the second straight tournament where Riggs and Keller were in a tiebreaker in their final match of the day, having lost to Great Bend in Saturday's Garden City Invitational in the title match.
Brevin Irvin and Dozie Ekweariri opened with a pair of wins over Brett Evenson/Danny Hendricks of Topeka West (8-2) and Joe Vosburgh/Blake Morrell of Topeka (8-3) before dropping an 8-6 match to Sean Skinner/Dave Graham of Junction City. They came back with an 8-3 win over Andrew Nola/Yash Kamath of Wichita East before losing a 6-2,6-0 consolation match to Luke Palmer/Shane Fowler of Derby.
"They came close to playing for the title and played well the whole day," Robinson said of the pair. "They won some great points against some good competition."
As expected, Clarke ran into some top-quality competition in the No. 1 singles slot, opening with a win over Steven Anderson of Free State (8-5) before consecutive losses to Kris Snyder of Topeka High (8-3) and Trevor McChristian of Maize (8-5). He came back to win his final two matches of the tourney, beating Josh Brandmahl of Junction City (8-3) and Justin Briles of Derby, 6-1, 6-4.
"He started off well and finished strong," Robinson said of Clarke. "His losses were against some good players where he battled hard."
The Buffs were on their way to Goddard for a 3 p.m. tournament today.
In another tough field of six teams, the Garden City Lady Buffs swimming team placed third on Wednesday at the Manhattan Invitational with 415 points.
Host Manhattan won the meet with 501 points while Salina South was second with 442.
Among the highlights for the Lady Buffs was sophomore Claire Schmidt's personal best mark of 6:11.13 in the 500-yard freestyle to place second while teammate Alexa Shaffer was third in 6:18.56.
Samantha Norton and Schmidt went 3-4 in the 200-yard individual medley with times of 2:32.98 and 2:36.78. Norton also had a fifth-place in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:12.25. Lindsay Bradstreet and Katelyn Greene placed fourth and fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke with marks of 1:21.62 and 1:26.36.
"Overall, a good day despite the fact we got off to a slow start," GCHS coach Casey Wise said. "If you take the diving points out, we probably finish second. The girls swam well and we saw a lot of good competition."
Two of the relay teams had strong performances as well, with the 400-yard freestyle unit of Schmidt, Shaffer, Greene and Norton placing second with a time of 4:19.91, just a little over a second off their state-qualifying mark. The 200-yard freestyle team of Greene, Erika Schafer, Abigail Ginest-Dougherty and Norton had a season best time of 1:53.64, coming within a second of a state qualifying mark.
Greene and Schafer went 7-8 in the 50-yard freestyle with times of 28.67 and 28.82. The 200-yard medley relay team of Ashley Longoria, Bradstreet, Schmidt and Shaffer placed fifth with a time of 2:14.16. In the 200-yard freestyle, Bradstreet (2:26.84) and Andrea Castillo (2:34.61) placed sixth and eighth. Schafer clocked a 1:04.78 in the 100-yard freestyle to take seventh. Longoria and Ayla Ebert took sixth and seventh in the 100-yard backstroke with times of 1:17.39 and 1:20.91.
The Lady Buffs will have a week to prepare for their next meet, May 2, at Salina South.