This time, there was no need for a tiebreak system to determine the Western Athletic Conference boys tennis championship.
Much to the relief of head coach Rod Robinson, despite a couple of stumbles along the way, the Garden City High School Buffaloes captured the WAC title on Monday at Great Bend, finishing with 12 points while Hays and Dodge City shared the runner-up spot with 10 points. Great Bend (6) and Liberal (2) rounded out the team standings.
It was just a year ago that the Buffs tied Dodge City for the WAC title, but there was no tiebreak system set up to break the tie. It was a moot point this time around.
Junior Huy Nguyen captured the No. 1 singles title by going 4-0 and was voted the player of the year in the WAC.
The No. 1 doubles team of Will Keller and Daniel Darter defended their 2017 title by sweeping through the four matches unbeaten in the round-robin format.
“Our No. 1s were dominant and played like they should,” Robinson said of his top singles player and doubles team. “The No. 2s struggled during the day, especially our No. 2 doubles.”
Robinson’s No. 2 of seniors Brian Carrera and Daniel Chacon, who had just won the GCHS Invitational on Thursday against other WAC No. 1 doubles teams, struggled to a 2-2 record and placed third.
“It was a bad day and they looked lethargic,” Robinson said of Carrera and Chacon. “I know they’ll do better at regionals.”
No. 2 singles player Nathan Morren also struggled during the tournament, with an actual on-court record of 1-2 but got a forfeit over Liberal to finish 2-2 and place third.
“Some of our losses will really impact the seedings for regionals (Friday at Wichita Northwest),” Robinson said. “It was windier than heck out there, and it just affected everybody’s shots all day. It wasn’t an easy day to play.”
Nguyen, playing No. 1 in his first full varsity season, defeated Hays’ Drew Morley (8-4), Great Bend’s Alex Smith (8-1), Liberal’s Erick Rodriguez (8-2) and Dodge City’s Bryce Harmon (8-5).
“He has improved quite a lot this spring, and it’s good to see him recognized for a strong season,” Robinson said of Nguyen.
Keller and Darter were equally dominant in their four wins, although they struggled in their match of day, beating Hays’ Logan Clark and Zac Wyse, 8-5. Aftger that, they rolled to 8-2 wins over Great Bend’s Robert Frizell/Israel Esparza and Liberal’s Calen Moore/Duncan Hinz before finishing off with an 8-1 rollover of Dodge City’s Alex Ramirez/Cannon Bunkall.
Morren’s lone win on the court came against Great Bend’s Matthew Phillips by an 8-1 margin only to lose matches to Hays and Dodge City. Carrera and Chacon posted wins over Hays and Liberal, but suffered losses to Great Bend and Dodge City.
Friday’s regional is expected to begin play at Wichita Northwest’s courts at approximately 9 a.m.
Competing teams include Dodge City, Hutchinson, Haysville-Campus, Wichita North, Wichita Northwest, Wichita South, Wichita West and the Buffs. The top six finishers in singles and in doubles will advance to the May 11 and 12 Class 6A state tournament at the Kossover Tennis Center in Topeka.