The Garden City boys tennis team will be represented on the second day of the state tournament, as the team of juniors Daniel Darter and Will Keller went 1-1 Friday to advance to the medal day of the Class 6A tournament at the Topeka-Kossover Tennis Center.
The other doubles team, seniors Daniel Chacon and Brian Carrera were not as fortunate as they lost both of their matches, resulting in an early exit for them. Junior singles player Huy Nguyen also saw a first day exit as he lost both of his matches on Friday, as well.
“They played hard,” said head coach Rod Robinson of his team's performance on Friday. “They ran into some tough competition as they are playing the best teams in 6A.”
The team of Darter and Keller can place as high as fifth on Saturday, or as low as 12th. Either way, they will walk away with a medal.
“They are the first double team in Garden City to medal in back-to-back years in a long time,” Robinson said of his No. 1 singles team. “Last year, they finished in 11th place, and their goal was to finish better than last year.
"I think they are a better team than last year, so I think they can beat the finish from last year. I think it will help them that they know they can medal, compared to last year as they had to battle to get to 11th place.”
First, Darter and Keller routed Blue Valley West's Evan Stout and Evan Price, 6-4, 6-1, before losing to Lawrence Free State's Trey Melvin and Erik Czapinski, 6-2, 6-4.
Now, the duo will take on Washburn Rural's Landon Schmidt and Will Baker to open Saturday's play.
Friday's tough competition got the best of the No. 2 doubles team, as Chacon/Carrera lost to Anthony Gao and Pierce Mitts of Shawnee Mission Northwest, 6-2, 6-2, and in the second match lost to Stout and Price of Blue Valley West, 9-4.
“Every year they got better,” Robinson said of his two graduating seniors. "Brian’s groundstroke got better, and he also became a harder hitter. He improved every year.”
Robinson also saw much improvement in Carrera through his time at Garden City.
“Daniel (Carrera) was fast when he first started, and as he progressed he stayed just as fast but got better strokes. When both of these guys play their A game, they are a tough team to beat,” Robinson said.
Although losing both of his matches on Friday, Nyugen, a junior, gained some much needed experience at his first state tournament.
“Getting to state really helps Huy for next year, as he now knows what to expect for next year,” Robinson said of his lone singles player at the state tournament. "Your first (state) tournament can be overwhelming, and when he comes for his second one, he will feel more comfortable.
Scott City's Josiah Evans is still alive for the Beavers, going 1-1 Friday in Wichita. He beat JJ Heredia of Central Plains, 6-3, 6-1, before losing to William Wiener, 6-3, 6-3. He will take on Colby's Drew Starbuck to kick off Saturday.
The Beavers' other singles player, William Cupp, was eliminated Friday after going 1-2. First, he beat Jacob Kautz of Conway Springs in three games, before dropping his second match to Prairie Village's Caleb Kern. He then won his first backside bracket match by default, but lost to Conway Springs' Luke Bellar, 9-1, to end his season.
Both of Scott City's doubles teams were eliminated Friday. Porter Irwin and Chaseton Cupp downed Ben Simmons and Eli Wagner of Prarie Village, before losing to Kade Beck and Brett Liebl of Central Plains. Then, they were eliminated by Michael and Thomas Maldanado of Hutchinson-Trinity.
Christian Wright and Miles Haire lost both of their matches.