By BRETT MARSHALL
Heading into the team's third tournament in five days, Garden City High School boys tennis coach Rod Robinson decided to switch his lineup and provide his singles players and one of his doubles team a different experience on Thursday at the Goddard Invitational.
No. 1 and 2 singles players Brian Clarke and Sebastian Kyaw teamed up to play No. 1 doubles, while the usual No. 1 doubles team of Evan Riggs and Denton Keller switched over and played No. 1 and 2 singles. The No. 2 doubles team of Brevin Irwin and Dozie Ekweariri were the lone holdovers from their usual spot.
The end result was a tie for second in the team standings, sharing the runner-up spot with host Goddard with five points while Wichita Collegiate easily captured team honors with 10 points. Valley Center rounded out the small field with four points.
Both doubles teams finished second by going 2-1 for the tournament.
Clarke and Kyaw defeated Goddard's Isaac Dunn and Sam Rogers (6-4, 6-0) and Valley Center's Jason Degarmo and Paul Butto (6-1, 6-4), losing only to Collegiate's Daniel Hullings and Sonny Frank (6-2, 6-1). Irwin and Ekweariri also went 2-1, losing their opener to Goddard's Kyle Gerken and Tommy Stoller (7-5, 7-5) while beating Collegiate's Mike Choi and Sam Brown (6-2, 6-3) and Valley Center's Seth Milford and Josh Bretch (2-6, 6-3) in a tiebreaker (10-8).
Keller went 1-2 and took third at No. 2 singles. His lone win came against Goddard's TJ Enegren (6-1, 6-0) while his losses were against Nathan Jones of Valley Center (1-6, 6-4) in a tiebreaker (10-8). Riggs had perhaps the toughest assignment of the day, playing Timio Lopez of Goddard, one of the state's top 5A singles players (losing 6-0, 6-1) and then taking on one of Class 4As top players in Collegiate's Travis Osland (losing 6-0, 6-1). His one close match came against Matt Dolezal of Valley Center, where they went to a tiebreaker with Dolezal winning that 10-8 after Riggs won the opening set 6-2 only to lose the second set 7-5.
"After playing a long tournament on Wednesday (at Topeka), we just decided to give the kids a different look," Robinson said. "The singles players had wanted to play doubles and the doubles had wanted to play singles, so this was a good opportunity to let them have some fun. I think they all enjoyed the change, but we certainly would like to have won the tiebreakers. They haven't been too kind to us."
Next up for the Buffs will be the Western Athletic Conference tournament, which begins at 10 a.m. Monday in Liberal.