GCHS boys tennis competes at state

GCHS Athletics
Garden City High School's Logan Morren hits a backhand shot crosscourt during a singles match in the GCHS boys tennis invitational earlier this season.

It’s always been an uphill climb for the Garden City High School boys’ tennis team when they head east to play in the Class 6A state tournament.

The sheer quality of players in the eastern portion of Kansas annually takes center stage against the best players from Wichita and central and western Kansas.

For the Buffs, Friday’s foray into the state tournament with a young, underclassmen-dominated lineup, proved once again how difficult it is to win matches.

Sophomore Logan Morren, playing at the state for the first time in singles competition, came up with a big match victory and in the consolation bracket. He had lost his first-round match to Gregor Wiedeman of Shawnee Mission East, 6-0, 6-0, but bounced back to claim a 7-1 triumph over Argamann Zutshi of Topeka-Washburn Rural in his first consolation match. That advanced him to play Joseph Burnham of Olathe Northwest where he fell, 9-3.

Sophomore Colin Kleysteuber also ran into the buzz saw competition, falling in 6-0, 6-0 sets to Brent Fallon of Blue Valley-Northwest. He then lost to Burnham of Olathe Northwest, 9-1.

“Logan and Colin had their first taste of the 6A state singles experience,” Head Coach Logan Bevis said. “They saw some solid tennis and walked away from the weekend with a better understanding of what it takes to be competitive at the highest level in the state.”

Bevis said Morren’s victory would be a big confidence boost in the future, focusing on more summer tennis and off-season preparation for his junior season in 2022.

“It was the first singles win I can remember against a non-regional opponent since I started here in 2017,” Bevis said. “He continued the solid level of play he has had the last few weeks and it helped him secure the win against the Washburn Rural player.”

Kleysteuber, too, played competitively despite the scores, Bevis said.

“Colin played hard as well and I think he learned a lot from the experience,” Bevis said of his other sophomore singles player.

Garden’s lone doubles team entry – senior Charles Stillian and junior Abraham Hernandez nearly got through their first-round match, but fell to Washburn Rural’s Jiyoon Park and Zack Willingham, 3-6, 6-0, 6-10 in the tiebreak. They ended their appearance with a 9-3 loss to Haysville-Campus’ Alec Hinojos and Leyton Brown.

“Charles and Abraham were a few point away from a first round win against Washburn Rural, but they came up just short in the third set super tiebreaker,” Bevis said. “I was happy with the way the battled

back from losing the first set to take a resounding 6-0 victory in the second. A few tough points in the tiebreaker flipped momentum and ended with us coming up just short.”

After missing his junior season due to the COVID cancellation of the 2020 season, Bevis said he was happy Stillian qualified for state.

“It was his first year on varsity and as our only senior, I am happy he was able to experience state tennis,” Bevis said of Stillian. “They played two competitive matches and should hold their heads high after their performance.”

With Stillian being lone senior on the six player varsity roster, Bevis is excited to have a lot of experience returning to a team that won the Western Athletic Conference championship, with Morren being named the WAC Tennis Player of the Year. The Buffs also finished second in their 6A regional tournament last week.

“Our JV ended the year winning their last two tournaments and with us winning WAC and being regional runner-up, these awards show the development these guys made throughout the year,” Bevis said. “I’m looking forward to what they will do in future seasons.”