Two days after competing in the tough Salina Central Mustang Classic, the Garden City Buffaloes boys tennis team headed back to south central Kansas for the Hutchinson Salthawk Invitational.
This time, the Buffs came home with the first-place finish by scoring 28 points to edge Salina South (25), Newton (24) and a split Hutchinson squad (23). There were eight teams entered in the tournament.
In the early going of the season, the Buffs’ doubles teams have carried the flag for coach Rod Robinson, and Thursday was no different.
Both doubles teams captured the top spot in their respective divisions while the pair of singles players each placed fourth to help pave the way for the team victory.
The No. 1 doubles team of Will Keller and Daniel Darter swept through their four matches, three in pool play, and one in the final round matches, losing only three games the entire day.
Keller and Darter opened with an 8-1 win over Hutchinson Gray’s Haden Green and Will Jackson, followed with an 8-2 triumph over Hutchinson Trinity’s Thomas Maldonado and Martin Vasquez, before finishing off Newton’s Daniel Buller and Joel Golubski, 8-0. In the final round match against Pool B winner Wichita East, the Buffs’ top duo rolled to an 8-1 win over Ahmad Saeed and Aditya Joshi.
“The doubles guys just really played well,” said Robinson. “It was a dominating day for them and the same for the No. 2 doubles team.”
Brian Carrera and Daniel Chacon also went unbeaten for the day, winning over Hutch Gray’s Lance Goering and Ronald Hemingway, 8-2; 8-4 over Choong Son and Brian Kim of Hutchinson Trinity; and 8-5 against Sam Claassen and Zack Kofoed of Newton. In the championship match against Dodge City, the Buffs’ pair dominated 8-1 over Jonathan Austin and Josiah Thomas.
“They (Carrera/Chacon) continue to improve each time out,” Robinson said.
On the singles side, Huy Nguyen and Nathan Morren each went 2-1 in pool play before dropping their third-place matches in the challenge round.
Nguyen defeated Hutchinson’s Dylan Shah, 8-0; lost to Newton’s Jason Wong, 8-0; then defeated Hutch Trinity’s Michael Maldonado, 8-4. In the final round, Nguyen lost an 8-4 decision to Hutchinson's Bo Tolbert to finish fourth.
Morren also went 2-1 in the pool play, taking Hutchinson's Brandon Colborn, 8-0; losing 8-7 to Newton’s Matt Georgiou; and winning over Hutch Trinity’s Ryan Zipprich, 8-5. In his battle for third, Morren was dropped by Salina South’s Connor Talbott, 8-7 (7-5).
“Our singles players continue to get better and better,” Robinson said. “They had a couple of opportunities where they could have won the other matches, but they are coming along and I think they’ll be competitive by the time we get to regionals.”
The Buffs were scheduled to travel Saturday to the McPherson Invitational, but forecasted bad weather has made officials postpone the meet to Monday with a tentative start time of 3 p.m., although Robinson said it might be moved to an earlier start.
Track & Field
Garden City High School senior Brooke Navarro finished first in the 1,600m 4A-6A run, with a time of 5:45.80, at the annual Shocker Pre-State Challenge at Cessna Stadium on the campus of Wichita State University.
“She ran super well, and was consistent” said GCHS head coach Brian Hill. “We were disappointed that she didn't make the Elite division, so she wanted to prove that she did belong with that heat of runners.”
Navarro was the only area girl’s runner to win a race, but other area girls did finish strong. Peyton Peterson from Stanton County finished fourth in the 1,600m 1A-3A run, with a time of 6:06.05 as well as finishing fourth in the 3,200m 1A-3A run with a time of 13:38.08. Kaetlin Kohlhost finished 6th in the rarely ran 2,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:09.27.
On the boys side of the competition, the Buffs’ Javier Cervantes had the best individual finish, taking second in the 2,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 6:51.27.
GCHS teammates Garret Doll took sixth in the Elite 1,600-meters with a time of 4:37.98 while Kameron Wildeman was third in the Class 4-6A 1,600-meters with a time of 4:45.19.
Jordan Herrman took sixth for the Buffs in the javelin with a throw of 151-07.
Stanton County’s Isaiah Barrera placed fourth and sixth in the 3,200- and 1,600-meter runs with times of 11:12.89 and 4:56.84.
The Shocker Pre-State Challenge will continue Friday, with events starting at 9 a.m. At Cessna Stadium.