It’s no secret for tennis players on the western side of Kansas: Eastern Kansas schools typically have more skilled tennis players.
For the most part, tennis can be played year-round in the bigger cities in central and eastern Kansas, with more available indoor facilities for the winter months, and more available tennis pros.
That results in eastern Kansas tennis players dominating the state tournaments. But that doesn’t mean the Garden City High School Buffaloes — who send all six players to state — don’t have goals for the 6A state tournament, which starts Friday at Olathe’s College Boulevard Activity Center.
Class 3-2-1A, in which Scott City singles player William Cupp will compete, will be played at Prairie Village’s Harmon Park Tennis Complex, also beginning Friday.
“I want to go into state and place better than what we got last year,” Garden City senior Will Keller said, as he gets set to play in his third-straight state tournament with partner Daniel Darter. “Me and my partner, we’ve kind of had a challenging season with how many tournaments we missed because of weather and things, so I want to go in there and play at the level we’re capable of.”
The duo finished eighth as juniors a year ago, after an 11th-place finish in 2017. The duo are 20-7 this year, playing a more competitive early-season schedule than in previous years. They won the Class 6A regional for the third-straight year, as well.
The Buffs’ other doubles team of Nathan and Tyler Morren also will compete at state, after finishing second to their teammates at the regional held in Garden City. The Morrens are 29-4.
“I went last year to state just as an observer,” Nathan Morren said. “Hopefully this year we can play some good tennis and go against some good opponents.”
On the singles side, the Buffs also have Huy Nguyen and Aaron Schafer competing. Nguyen, a returning state qualifier, finished third in the region this year, and Schafer was fifth.
“It’s going to be a lot of good players up there,” Nguyen said. “There will be a lot of good matches, and I can play a lot of good players.”
Nguyen is 24-10 this season, and Schafer is 19-10.
The players’ first-round matches will not be known until the day of the tournament, when seeding is completed.
The Scott City junior finished fourth in his regional at Wakeeney, qualifying for the Class 3-2-1A state tournament. He’s the only other Telegram area player who will be competing at state, joining fellow southwest Kansas players from Meade, Joan Vilalta-Bartes, and doubles team Gatlin Clawson and Korben Clawson.
Cupp is 25-6 this season.
Contact J. Levi Burnfin at email@example.com.