Kansas City Christian senior Johnny Goodwin thanked his physical therapists after he won his third Class 3-2-1A singles title on Saturday at Emporia High School.
He laughed after he said it, but after missing all but the final nine matches of the season — eight in the postseason — there’s little doubt Goodwin was serious.
“It’s just awesome,” said Goodwin, who has signed with Texas. “I was coming into the season hoping to get this third one. I was injured coming into it. I’m glad I could bounce back and help out my team here.
“I had scapular dyskinesis, which is basically, my back was moved down two inches, rotated 45 degrees. It was pretty messed up.”
Goodwin and the doubles team of Alex Kartsonis and Jackson VanderArk helped KC Christian finished third with 39 points. KC Christian, whch was the 2014 team champion, finished two points behind winner Hesston and one behind runner-up Wichita Collegiate.
Kartsonis and VanderArk won t6heir title 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 over Central Plains’ Layne Bieberle and Michael Ryan. Kartsonis and VanderArk finished third last year.
Goodwin started his senior season in the final regular season match before heading into regionals. While he won his regional and finished the season 9-0, including a 6-1, 6-1 title win Saturday over Salina Sacred Heart’s Stratton Brown in a rematch of the 2014 final, those first few matches weren’t as easy as they may have appeared.
“There’s definitely a lot of pressure, especially when you’re not used to competing. It all comes down to whether you want it more. And I definitely wanted it out there,” Goodwin said.
KC Christian coach Nick Hegarty added: “Being injured is no good, it’s no fun. He did his best to get through it and do as much as he could while he was rehabbing the shoulder. He certainly came back strong.”
Goodwin’s serving was on point, getting the majority of his first serves in. He also was aggressive and worked to control the net so Brown couldn’t.
“I don’t know if he could have done better,” Hegarty said.
While Goodwin dominated from the start, Kartsonis and VanderArk took a bit to get going, losing the first set before finding their groove.
“They came out strong,” Kartsonis said. “They’re good players. They kicked us in the mouth a bit. They were on it.”
Jackson added: “It’s incredibly easy to give up. We stuck in it and got back. We kind of just started playing better.”
On the final point, Kartsonis hit a winner, dropped his racket and hugged VanderArk.
“The last point was just surreal,” Kartsonis said. “Really just dreaming all these years about becoming a state champion. It’s an awesome experience.”