By BRETT MARSHALL
The Garden City High School boys tennis team managed to come away with a measure of respectability on Friday at the Class 6A state tournament at the Kossover Tennis Center in Topeka.
The Buffs, while losing both first-round singles matches as well as the lone doubles opening-round match, came back and won all of their first consolation bracket games.
But the Buffs — Brian Clarke and Sebastian Kyaw in singles and the doubles team of Evan Riggs and Denton Keller — all were eliminated late Friday in the second round of the consolation bracket and saw their seasons come to an end.
In singles play, Brian Clarke lost in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1, to Brooks Kendall of Shawnee Mission East, while Sebastian Kyaw was blanked 6-0, 6-0, by Thompson Tong of Olathe Northwest. The doubles team of Evan Riggs and Denton Keller also fell in their opening match, 6-1, 6-1, to Mitchell Samuelson and Brady Flanagan of Blue Valley North. That team was a third-place finisher in the tough Overland Park area regional last week.
Both singles players won their first consolation match, with Clark defeating Eric Seals of Topeka-Washburn Rural, 9-5, and Kyaw taking a 9-8 (7-1 tiebreaker) victory against Braden Baker of Derby. The Riggs/Keller duo captured a 9-7 victory over Brandon Juracek and Miles Stevens of Lawrence-Free State in their first consolation battle.
In all three second-round consolation matches, the Buffs came up short and were eliminated from play.
Clarke was dropped 9-2 by Austin Christ of Olathe North, while Kyaw lost to Dodge City's Jonas Gotte, 9-1. Keller and Riggs battled Griffin Koupal and Matt Murray of Washburn Rural before falling 9-5.
Christ, the singles player to eliminate Clarke, had been a regional champion as was the Washburn Rural team of Koupal and Murray that knocked out Riggs and Keller. Rural had been 25-1 going into that match. Koupal and Murray had been the overall No. 2 seed heading into the tournament.
"When you get to state, you never know which regional you're gonna be set in and play," GCHS coach Rod Robinson said. "It's a little the luck of the draw, and we didn't get lucky today."
Robinson said he was proud of the effort given by all the players.
"They all played as good and as hard as they have all year," Robinson said. "Even in their losses, they weren't losses that we gave them. The other players and teams earned them."
The biggest accomplishment for the group came in the fact that Clarke, Kyaw and Riggs each garnered their first-ever wins at the state.
"They were happy with their seasons, but disappointed they lost today," Robinson said. "But getting those first wins are really good accomplishments. They had great 4-year careers and it's been a joy to coach them."
The Garden City High School girls swimming team had hoped to unseat Great Bend as champions of the Western Athletic Conference at the league meet on Thursday at Great Bend.
After missing by just a single point at the 2012 WAC championship, the Lady Buffs had already claimed one win over the Lady Panthers during the regular season.
But things didn't work out the way coach Casey Wise had planned, and the Lady Buffs ran into a Great Bend team that likely had its top performance of the season.
Great Bend finished with 421 points to Garden City's 374, while Hays High was a distant third with 186. Dodge City (153) and Liberal (143) rounded out the team scores.
Depth had been one of the team's strength for the Lady Buffs during the 2013 campaign, and while the team swam well on Thursday, Great Bend's depth showed considerable improvement, and offset the advantage that the Buffs had showed in earlier meets.
"Great Bend won nine of the 11 events, and we just couldn't offset that," Wise said. "Our kids did swim well, but I'd say that Great Bend's team swam its best all year. We needed some help from Dodge City, which we didn't get, but I thought the girls gave their best effort. It just wasn't enough."
Great Bend built its momentum from the first event of the meet, winning the 200-yard medley over the Lady Buffs, 2:08.04 to 2:09.36. The Lady Panthers then proceeded to win six of the next seven events, interrupted only by Garden City's Samantha Norton, who edged Dodge City's Jenny Delzeit of Dodge City in the 100-yard butterfly for the first time by .20 of a second (1:09.36 to 1:09.56).
"She swam a terrific race, and I think that gave us some brief momentum," Wise said of Norton's triumph. "They announced the scores in those early events and I think it just got Great Bend excited and from there it kinda snowballed. Once we were in the deficit, we couldn't overcome that lead."
Alexa Shaffer had a third in the 200-yard freestyle (2:17.48), and Katelyn Greene, Erin Kuneyl and Abigal Ginest-Dougherty went 2-4-5 in the 50-yard freestyle with times of 28.89, 29.51 and 29.61 seconds.
Erika Schafer and Kuneyl placed 3-4 in the 100-yard freestyle (1:04.25 and 1:05.71). Claire Schmidt and Shaffer took a third and fourth in the 500-yard freestyle with times of 6:11.34 and 6:19.24. Schafer and Ashely Longoria took third and fourth in the 100-yard backstroke (1:16.49 and 1:17.15) while Lindsay Bradstreet was second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:21.04).
In the remaining relays, the Lady Buffs were second and third in the 200-yard freestyle (1:55.39 and 1:58.39), and also was second in the 400-yard freestyle (4:14.05).
The Lady Buffs' 400-yard relay team of Greene, Shaffer, Schmidt and Norton has qualified for the Class 6A state meet which begins on Friday with preliminaries at the Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka. Wise said he is awaiting word, most likely on Monday, about consideration times for the 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relay teams, as well as consideration times for Norton in the 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard individual medley.
The Garden City Buffaloes baseball team concluded its regular season on Friday with a 9-7 victory over Wichita Southeast in a game played at Dodge City.
The victory was the second in a row for the Buffs, who had beaten Great Bend in their final home game on Tuesday, and provided some momentum for the team as it prepares for the Class 6A regional, which is slated to begin Tuesday.
Based upon records entering Friday's final day of the regular season, the Buffs likely will be the No. 10 seed, and are expected to draw No. 3 seed Wichita East. The game will be played in Wichita. Pairings and game times were to be announced today by the Kansas State High School Activities Association.
The Buffs trailed 2-0 after the first inning but answered with a six-run third inning and tacked on three more runs in the fourth to take a commanding 9-2 lead.
But the lead didn't last long as the Golden Buffaloes came back with two runs in the fifth off starter Isaiah Rodriguez, who then gave way to Daven Acker.
In the top half of the sixth, Southeast loaded the bases off Acker and senior Edgar Montoya came in to relieve him, but promptly gave up a walk and a double, allowing all three runs to score, cutting the margin to 9-7. Montoya got out of the inning and then came back in the seventh to retire Southeast in order to end the game.
"We still made stupid base-running errors and booted the ball a few times," GCHS coach Bill Wilson said. "Southeast was totally out of pitching. They had already played four games this week. We just didn't do a good job of protecting the lead. But at this stage, a win is a win. It gives us a bit of momentum going into the regional."
Wichita SE 200 023 0 -- 7 9 1
Garden City 006 300 x -- 9 10 3
WP--Garden City (Rodriguez) and Solorio.