St. Thomas Aquinas finished fourth in doubles Saturday at the Class 5A state tournament at the Kossover Tennis Center.
Salina Central repeated as team champion.
The Saints’ doubles team of seniors Blake Jackson and Patrick Krim proved to be tough to beat.
The pair won a match on Friday, winning the third set in a super tie-breaker 11-9.
In the quarterfinals that started on Friday, they lost the first set to 3-6 to Salina Central’s Thomas Hampton and J.D. McHenry. Then the rain came postponing the rest of the match until Saturday morning. Jackson and Krim won the second set 6-3 and third 7-5 to advance to the semifinals.
“We stayed mentally tough,” Krim said. “We didn’t let any shots get by.”
They lost in the semifinal, 6-0, 6-1 to Newton’s Josh Carlgren and Riley Kinsley and finished fourth after dropping the third-place match, 6-1, 6-3 to Salina South’s Pierce Carey and Matt Berneking.
“They did very well with all the adversity they faced,” coach Dave Shriver said. “Top four in state is pretty darn good.”
The pair finished with a record of 13-6.
Before the season, Jackson was thinking about winning it all. He was paired with Eric Robinson in 2013 and the duo placed third at state.
But Robinson was on crutches at state after suffering a torn Achilles’ tendon in early April.
“I was in singles to start with and had to step into doubles,” Krim said. “It’s a whole different mind-set (doubles).”
Jackson said, “It was a lot different switching partners. I had to switch sides, but we communicated well and clicked together.”
St. James Academy’s junior team of Caleb Book and Andrew Growney lost its first match, but won three in a row in the loser’s bracket before falling twice.
They finished in eighth place for the best ever finish by a Thunder boys singles or doubles team at state.
It was Book who convinced Growney to come out for the team last year.
“This is just my second year of high school tennis,” he said. “My partner convinced me to come out for the team last year.”
What was the key to their success?
“We were mentally tough and I had a good partner,” Book said. “We just wanted to keep going.”
Thunder coach Amy Fangman said, “They worked hard all season and they were mentally tough.”
The team finished with a record of 19-11.