Shawnee Mission East wins third straight state tennis title

05/17/2014 11:10 PM

06/03/2014 10:17 AM

Shawnee Mission East senior Brooks Kendall has been patiently waiting in the wings for his shot at an individual state title.

He finished in third behind Blue Valley North’s Trey Daniel and Shawnee Mission West’s Vinh Pham in his sophomore and junior seasons, but since they both graduated last year, it opened the door for Kendall.

He capitalized on the opportunity by picking up Sunflower League and regional titles before winning the Kansas Class 6A singles championship and helping the Lancers to their third consecutive team title on Saturday at the Riverside Tennis Center in Wichita.

Kendall, who is headed to UMKC next year, finished with a 24-3 record.

“I finished third the last two years, but there really wasn’t much I could do about it because it was a high level of tennis,” Kendall said. “That was my goal at the beginning of the season to take it one match at a time and see where it ended up — but hopefully with a state title.”

The only downside for Kendall was that he had to beat teammate Jack Santilli 6-5, 6-1 in the final. That was his toughest draw in the tournament where he dropped just three games in his first three matches.

In doubles, Jamie McDonald and Elliott Renft added a sixth place finish and Jeff Larrabbee and Matt Schuetz finished in eight to help secure the team title. By winning a third straight, the boys matched what the girls’ team was able to do in the fall.

“They wanted to do no less than the girls did in the fall so I think they will be very pleased and I am certainly pleased,” Lancers coach Sue Chipman said. “It’s hard to three-peat.”

Despite having a singles player and two doubles teams in the semifinals, Blue Valley Northwest finished eight points behind Shawnee Mission East for second place.

Max Katcher and Brett White, who teamed up for the first time two days before regionals, took home the doubles title with a victory against Blue Valley North’s Mitchell and Alex Samuelson. They defeated teammates Jonathan Lowe and Yash Mylavarapu in the semifinals. Katcher and White finished the season with a 9-0 record.

“I’ve always wanted to play doubles with him because he is my best friend,” White said. “Now we do and we go undefeated on the year. It feels awesome being a state champion.”

Blue Valley North’s second doubles team of Brady Flanagan and Carson Fournier added fourth-place finish which helped the Mustangs finish third in the team standings. It was the third straight season that Sunflower League and Eastern Kansas League teams finished in the top three spots and seventh straight season one of them took home the title.

To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to kgier@kcstar.com.

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