GCHS fourth at Topeka
Garden City High School tennis Coach Logan Bevis had seen his boys’ team perform admirably during a two-week stretch of multiple tournaments with the same lineup.
So on Monday, with a week to follow before hosting the Western Athletic Conference championship, Bevis opted to mix things up with his singles and doubles players.
The result was a fourth-place finish at the Topeka High School Invitational, played on a hot, windy day that provided another weather experience for his team in a spring season splattered with a multitude of conditions.
The Buffs finished with 32 points, winning the tiebreaker on match points with Lawrence-Free State. Manhattan won the team title with 45 points, followed by Derby (41), and Gardner-Edgerton (36). There were 12 teams entered in the tournament.
“After a long stretch of matches, I decided to shake the lineup a little bit,” Bevis explained. “Considering the inexperience of a lot of our guys, I thought this was a great opportunity for several of the guys to step into different positions and they really seemed to have fun with it.”
Teams were assigned to a four-team pool, playing three matches. Then, based upon pool play standings, were placed into a cross-bracket finals to determine 1st through 3rd, 4th through 6th, 7th through 9th and 10th through 12th places.
The top finisher for the Buffs came from No. 2 doubles team of Charles Stillian and John Tran, who posted a 4-1 record for the day, winning all three of their pool matches and then splitting the final two-match pool with Manhattan and Gardner-Edgerton. Stillian usually plays No. 1 doubles with Abraham Hernandez and Tran is typically paired with Josh Negron at No. 2 doubles.
“They were the only two who didn’t step out of their normal role of doubles, but did play with a new partner,” Bevis said. “They were rock solid in pool play, where they controlled each match from start to finish.”
The other doubles team playing at No. 1 was comprised of Logan Morren and Colin Kleysteuber, usually playing No. 1 and 2 singles, so a big change for the two players.
They placed fourth finishing 4-1 for the entire day’s play. They posted a 2-1 record in pool play and then in finals play, won both matches against Wichita East and Gardner-Edgerton.
“Their only loss was against the eventual champions from Manhattan,” Bevis said of his two singles players partnering up for the first time. “Considering it was their first doubles match ever in high school, it wasn’t surprising that they got off to a slow start. By the end of the day they were playing at a solid level and beat the other second-place pool teams comfortably, including a Gardner-Edgerton team that tied for first in its pool play.”
The singles players had a much tougher time of things, although many of their matches were close and could have gone the other direction, Bevis said.
Josh Negron, usually the No. 2 doubles partner with Tran, played at No. 2 and posted a 2-3 record and placed fifth. He went 1-2 in the pool play matches and then split his placing matches, winning against Gardner-Edgerton, 8-6, but falling 8-4 to Manhattan’s No. 2 player.
“He continued a tradition he’s established in doubles of consistently playing the longest and closest matches of the day,” Bevis said. “He could easily have been 5-0 or 1-4 based on how competitive each match he played in was.”
Negron won a tiebreak against the other 1-2 teams in pool play based upon how competitive his matches had been, Bevis said.
“I was proud of the way he fought in each of his matches and he showed a lot of growth throughout the day as he started to get a better feel for singles,” Bevis said.
Abraham Hernandez, usually paired with Stillian at No. 1 doubles, played in the tough No. 1 singles position and had the toughest rounds, going 1-4 and placing 9th among the 12 players. His lone victory came in pool play with an 8-3 win over Manhattan’s No. 1.
“Abraham battled hard and I think he learned a lot from his matches about the importance of consistency,” Bevis said. “He learned a lot about the use of pattern strategies in singles, as well as the sheer physical toll singles demands.”
The busy spring schedule has seen the Buffs play in seven tournaments since beginning April 3 at Great Bend. They have also traveled to Maize South, Haysville-Campus, Hutchinson, Salina, and hosted their own invitational last weekend.
“Overall, I think it was a good day (minus the wind) for the team and I think the guys benefitted from filling different roles than normal,” Bevis said. “Now we finally have a few days of practice in a row to reset and refocus for WAC and regionals next week.”
The WAC championship is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at the GCHS Tennis Complex. Class 6A regionals will see the Buffs compete on Saturday, May 8, at Wichita South. The Class 6A state tournament is set for May 14-15 at the Prairie Village-Harmon Park Tennis Center. The top six singles and doubles qualifiers from regionals will advance to the state tournament.
1. Manhattan, 45; 2. Derby, 41; 3. Gardner-Edgerton, 36; 4. Garden City, 32; 5. Lawrence-Free State, 32; 6. Topeka High, 25; 7. Wichita East, 22; 8. Topeka West, 20; 9. Valley Center, 18; 10. Bonner Springs, 17; 11. Junction City, 16; 12. Mixed Team, 8.
Garden City Results
No. 1 Singles—Abraham Hernandez (9th, 1-4): Pool Play: lost to Gardner-Edgerton, 0-8; def. Mixed, 8-3; lost to Topeka High, 3-8. Placing Matches: lost to Valley Center, 5-8; lost to Junction City, 1-8.
No. 2 Singles—Josh Negron (5th, 2-3): Pool Play: def. Topeka West, 8-3; lost to Valley Center, 6-8; lost to Lawrence-Free State, 6-8; Placing Matches: lost to Manhattan, 4-8; def. Gardner-Edgerton, 8-6.
No. 1 Doubles—Logan Morren/Colin Kleysteuber (4th, 4-1): Pool Play: def. Lawrence-Free State, 8-5; def. Topeka West, 8-1; lost to Manhattan, 1-8. Placing Matches: def. Wichita East, 8-3; def. Gardner-Edgerton, 8-2.
No. 2 Doubles—Charles Stillian/John Tran (2nd, 4-1): Pool Play: def. Mixed, 8-0; def. Valley Center, 8-4; def. Lawrence-Free State, 8-4. Placing Matches: lost to Manhattan, 3-8; def. Gardner-Edgerton, 8-5.