Sunflower League champion Shawnee Mission East will be looking for its third consecutive Class 6A state boys’ tennis title next week after narrowly winning the SM West Regional on Saturday at the Indian Creek Recreation Center.
The Lancers captured the team title with 18 points, just three points more than Blue Valley North. East Kansas League champion Blue Valley Northwest placed third. The two tied for second, but BV North won the tie-breaker gaining an extra point. BV West and Blue Valley tied for fourth with six points each.
SM East was hindered when junior Reese Goulding, who placed second at state in doubles in 2013 with Jamie McDonald, developed a back problem.
“He is going to be in back brace for six to eight weeks,” said Lancers coach Sue Chipman, who is in her 17th year coaching the boys. “It really put a crimp in our planning about two weeks ago.
On Saturday, McDonald teamed with junior Elliott Renft to finish fifth in qualifying for state. The Lancers’ other doubles team, junior Jeff Larrabee and freshman Matt Schuetz, defaulted to McDonald and Renft in the fifth-place match.
The Lancers finished first and second in singles.
Senior Brooks Kendall won the singles title beating sophomore teammate Jack Santilli, 6-4, 7-5. Kendall trailed in the second set, but came back to win his first regional singles championship. The senior placed third at the state tournament as both a sophomore and junior after not qualifying for state as a freshman.
“Both of us were feeling bad (in the heat and the fourth match of the day),” Kendall said. “I tried to stay calm and play each point.”
It was the first time the two had played against each other on the high school level.
Kendall will take a 20-3 record to the state tournament, which will be played Friday and Saturday in Wichita at the Riverside Tennis Complex, while Santilli will have a 18-3 record for the seeding meeting before the state tournament.
“Every day at state is a long day,” Kendall said. “My key is to stay calm.”
Blue Valley junior Anil Patel placed third when BV West freshman Max Kurzban had to retire from the third-place match with an injury. Kurzban was the East Kansas League champion in singles. Patel will take a 16-5 record to state, while Kurzban is 18-8.
BV Northwest senior Max Katcher placed fourth in singles at state last year. This year, he teamed with junior Brett White to win the regional doubles title.
Katcher had played singles for most of the season.
“I hurt my (left) shoulder with two weeks left,” Katcher said. “I took two weeks off and we decided at the last minute to switch me to doubles.”
The pair defeated the BV North doubles team of sophomore Brady Flanagan and junior Carson Fournier 6-3, 6-3 in the final and will take an undefeated 5-0 record to the state tournament.
“The key was getting into match as soon as possible,” White said. “We always have to be talking about where we were going to be.”
BV North’s doubles team of Mitchell Samuelson and Alex Samuelson placed third, beating BV Northwest’s duo of Jonathan Lowe and Yash Mylavarapu. 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.