The Missouri Class 2 and Class 1 state team tournament takes place Thursday at the Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield. The singles and doubles tournaments will run Friday and Saturday at the same site.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
1 A rivalry renewed?
The tennis rivalry between Rockhurst and Rock Bridge is one of the best the state has to offer. The two teams have combined to win the past six Class 2 state championships, with Rock Bridge taking the past three. The rivalry may materialize once again with a state championship on the line. Unbeaten Rockhurst will take on Christian Brothers College, 17-5, in one semifinal at 9 a.m. Thursday; Rock Bridge, 17-1, will play Parkway Central, 13-3, in the other. The winners will meet Thursday afternoon. Rock Bridge edged Rockhurst in the Class 2 state championship last season — a match the Hawklets say they haven’t forgotten. “The guys that have been there before are looking forward to it,” second-year Rockhurst coach Zach Frisch said. “The guys who are new are hearing the hype from everyone else. That’s a team we pretty much always have in the back of our minds.”
2 Pembroke Hill eyes five-peat
Prior to the season, Pembroke Hill hadn’t lost a team tennis match in more than two seasons. Shawnee Mission East put an end to that streak in April. A much more important stretch, however, remains intact. The Raiders are gunning for a fifth consecutive Class 1 state championship. They will meet John Burroughs in the semifinals Thursday, with Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School facing off in the other. For once, Pembroke Hill may be playing in an underdog role. MICDS suffered its lone defeat at Rockhurst by a 5-4 margin on April 12. MICDS also handed John Burroughs its only loss of the season. Pembroke Hill is led by March Zheng and Chandler McCray.
3 Stacked draws in Class 1
A couple of heavyweight matches will highlight the opening day of the Class 1 singles tournament. Pembroke Hill’s Chandler McCray, undefeated this season, will face Clayton’s Joseph Dulle in the first round at 9 a.m. Friday. They are two of the state’s top competitors for the Class 1 singles title, along with Clayton’s Michael Rechan, Pembroke Hill’s Tristan Threatt and MICDS’ Joseph McAllister. Threatt and McAllister are set to face off in the first round, with the winner’s reward likely being a date with McAllister in the quarterfinals.
4 Class 2 singles up for grabs
Rockwood Summit senior Dylan Steffens is the top seed in the Class 2 singles tournament — a worthy honor for the four-star recruit who has signed with Illinois State. But he’s far from a clear-cut favorite in a tournament that may prove to be wide open. That leaves an opportunity for Rockhurst junior Alex Koca, the Hawklets’ No. 1 singles player. Also participating are Rockhurst’s Jack Evans, Lee’s Summit West’s Tanner Ferrell and Ray-Pec’s Travis Hopkins.
5 Tandems to watch
Blue Springs South doubles players Paul Province and Alec Barber broke a school record for career doubles wins. The duo will compete in the Class 2 state tournament after winning their sectional tournament. Rockhurst’s John Noglaski and Jacob Moore also won their Class 2 sectional. In Class 1, keep an eye on Barstow’s Sohil Bhagat and Ben Abbas, who breezed to a sectional win last week
| Sam McDowell, email@example.com.