By BRETT MARSHALL
For the first time in recent history, the Garden City High School boys tennis team brought home a regional trophy, earning runner-up honors on Friday at the Class 6A meet in Dodge City.
In the process, the Buffs qualified both of their singles players — second-place finisher Brian Clarke, and Sebastian Kyaw, who placed fifth. The Buffs also qualified their No. 1 doubles team of Denton Keller and Evan Riggs, who also took second. The only group unable to make it to the Class 6A state next Friday was the doubles team of Brevin Irvin and Dozie Ekweariri, who just missed with a seventh-place finish.
"I know the entire team was proud to finally bring home a team plaque after just missing last year," said GCHS coach Rod Robinson. "I was proud of them all. They are a great bunch of young men and supported each other all day. They all gave every thing they had today and played their best tennis."
Clarke won straight set victories over a pair of Dodge City players — Trevor Brick (6-3, 6-4) and Jonas Gotte (6-2, 6-3) — before falling to Trevor McChristian of Maize in the finals (6-2, 6-2).
Kyaw went 3-1 for his effort, winning over Shiva Patel of Wichita South before losing to Jordan Burlie of Maize (6-4, 7-5). He then defeated Cooper McCamant of Hutchinson (6-0, 6-0) and Trevor Brock of Dodge City (6-3, 5-7, 6-1).
Riggs and Keller captured three wins, defeating Alex Wakim/Valley Scharping of Wichita Northwest (6-1, 6-2), Dominique Apsly/Jose Silva of Campus (7-5, 6-1) and Richard Corbett/Daric Sanders of Maize (6-4, 6-3) before dropping the championship match to Hutchinson's Sam File and Collin Queal (6-4, 6-2).
"Brian fought through some nerves and playing styles to get him in the finals," Robinson said of Clarke. "Sebastian did a great job of rebounding and winning the last two to get him into the state."
It was mildly surprising that Keller was even able to play after sustaining an ankle sprain in Monday's Western Athletic Conference event in Liberal.
"Denton got taped up and played the best he's played all season," Robinson said. "Evan carried a bigger load due to Denton not able to get around the court as normal and did a great job adjusting."
Irvin and Ekweariri won their opening match before dropping their final two matches, the last in a tiebreaker to Anthony Rodriquez and Ricardo Parades of Wichita Northwest (6-3,1-6), 10-4.
The Class 6A state tournament will be played at the Hummer Sports Complex on Friday and Saturday in Topeka.
The Garden City Lady Buffaloes soccer team got the only goal it needed in the 52nd minute on Friday to pick up a 1-0 semifinal victory over host Wichita North in the North Cup.
The victory, which improves the Lady Buffs to 7-5-1, sends them into today's championship game at 3 p.m. against Wichita Heights, a 5-1 winner over Liberal in the other semi.
Garden City's only goal came when Tiffany Butler took a cross from Haley Brennaman and punched it in for the score.
The Lady Buffs came up with 11 shots compared to eight for the Lady Redskins, and freshman goalkeeper Ashlee Richman provided strong net defense with six saves.
Track & Field
Junior Alex Miller won a pair of gold medals in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs while Kayla Doll continued to shine in the 800-meters to catapult the Garden City Lady Buffs track team to a second place finish on Friday at the Derby Invitational.
The Lady Buffs scored 109 points to champion Newton's 121, while host Derby was third with 90.
On the boys side of the competition, the Buffs got first-place efforts from Jonathan DuVall in the 110-meters as coach Mike Smith's squad also garnered a runner-up finish with 102.5 points to winner Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel's 144. Newton was third with 94.5 points. Dusty Tempel won the long jump with a leap of 21-7.
DuVall likely had the day's outstanding performance in the 110s as he ran a blistering 14.00, establishing a new school mark. He had just run a 14.29 on Tuesday at the Garden City Invitational. Aaron Vasquez and Tristan Nanninga captured the other individual gold medals for the boys, Vasquez clearing 14-0 to win the pole vault while Nanninga made 6-0 to capture the high jump. The 4x400-meter relay team of Hunter Delgado, Dusty Tempel, Brett Cady and Greyson Tempel won with a season best time of 3:26.42.
On the girls' side, Miller won her specialty events with times of 5:26.34 in the 1,600 and 11:46.98 in the 3,200. Doll earned her gold medal in the 800 with a time of 2:21.28, just off her season best of 2:20.38 set on Tuesday at the G.C. Invitational. Taryn Tempel had the lone other first for the Lady Buffs, going 35-03.25 to win the triple jump. The 4x800-meter team of Miller, Neysa Harman, Katy Doll and Kayla Doll also came in with a first, clocking 10:00.14.
Next up for the Buffs will be Thursday when they travel to Dodge City for the Western Athletic Conference championship.
After being sidelined by weather for nearly two weeks, the GCHS baseball team came up with a 9-2 victory on Friday night over host Emporia in the Spartan Roundball Classic.
The Buffs got brilliant pitching from Edgar Montoya and timely hitting in getting just their third win of the season against 11 losses.
"I think we had been off for so long it felt like the season opener," said GCHS assistant coach Lyle Befort. "The boys were really ready to play and I thought we were more aggressive and selective at the plate."
The Buffs did most of their damage with a six-run outburst in the first inning. Montoya finished with a seven-strikeout, one-walk performance in earning his second win of the season. He also doubled as the Buffs finished with seven hits. Montoya limited the Spartans to just three hits.
The Buffs were scheduled to play Maize South at 10 a.m. in the final day of the Classic.