There was pressure on Shawnee Mission East’s No. 2 doubles pair, junior Jamie McDonald and sophomore Reese Goulding, during the Kansas Class 6A doubles final last Saturday at Kossover Tennis Center in Topeka.
Of course, that was nothing compared to the pressure earlier in the day when McDonald and Goulding battled Blue Valley North junior Mitchell Samuelson and freshman Brady Flanagan in the semifinals.
McDonald and Goulding saved three match points and rallied after dropping the first set for a 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 victory that clinched a second consecutive team championship for the Lancers, SM East's record 18th state title since 1965.
“The season’s been a little rocky because of rain and nasty weather,” SM East coach Sue Chipman said. “We’ve lost some matches because of the rain, but it was perfect today, and it came out beautifully as far as the result goes.”
The Lancers finished with 48 team points, winning over the runner-up Mustangs by six points. The semifinal result alone would not have changed the outcome.
However, if Samuelson and Flanagan had turned around and upset SM East senior Jake Glazer and freshman Jack Santilli in the final as well, BV North would have emerged as champions.
Instead, Glazer and Santilli outlasted McDonald and Goulding 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 in an all Lancers doubles final that served as a victory lap of sorts for Chipman’s squad.
“The best part is when we knew we were playing Jamie and Reese, we knew we had won as a team and clinched it,” said Glazer, a four-time state doubles medalist who capped his career with his first state gold medal. “That’s the best feeling.”
Beating their buddies for the title wasn’t ideal, but somebody had to win and lose that match.
“It is tough, but we knew coming in we might play each other,” Goulding said. “It was hard, but it was a good match.”
SM East also was buoyed by junior Brooks Kendall’s third-place showing in singles.
Kendall lost to SM West senior Vinh Pham 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the semifinals, but he bounced back for a 6-1, 3-0 (retired) win overt BV Northwest junior Max Katcher on the way to a second consecutive third-place medal.
“Those big boys are going to graduate, so next year Brooks is going to have a shot at it, I hope if he comes back and plays again,” Chipman said. “I hope he does, and I think he will.”
Samuelson and Flanagan wound up third in doubles, defeating BV Northwest junior Austin Bachar and freshman Jonathan Lowe 6-4, 6-2.
“They played a heck of a tournament,” Blue Valley North coach Ann Dark said. “I was thrilled with their third-place finish. It was great to see them rebound from such a heartbreaking semifinal match to close out with a win in the third-place match. I was really proud of the way they overcame that loss.”
BV West senior Tyler Hamedi and Nico Riveros claimed fifth with a 9-4 win over BV North sophomores Jackson Hubble and Rohit Bhagat.
Olathe Northwest junior Dominic Fabiano and sophomore Taylor Ficke finished eighth, and Olathe South sophomore Conner Petty and senior Brandon Edwards wound up 10th.
Daniel attains perfection
Perfection in sports in rare, but Blue Valley North senior Trey Daniel never experienced a loss during a two-year high school tennis career.
For the second straight spring, Daniel topped Vinh Pham in the Kansas Class 6A boys' singles final — this time by a 6-3, 6-1 count.
“Vinny played a good championship match and it was exciting to see two great players go at it in Kansas,” BV North coach Ann Dark said.
Pham came out playing with fire, but Daniel withstood the early emotion and ground out yet another triumph, improving to 25-0 on the season and 48-0 in his high school career.
“I had to stay mentally strong,” said Daniel, who has signed with Texas Christian University. “I just needed to hold my serve, because I was up a break. I knew he was going to play some good service games, so I just had to stay calm.”
Pham, who has signed with UMKC, finished the season 24-3.
“I played pretty well, but he played better and more disciplined,” Pham said. “I would love to have won state and been a champion. I’m just very unfortunate to come along at the same time as Jack Sock and Trey.”
Singles player from the East Kansas and Sunflower leagues claimed the top nine spots at state with BV West senior Matt Rodgers defeating Blue Valley sophomore 9-8 (1) in the fifth-place match.
Olathe North junior Austin Crist stopped Lawrence junior Thomas Irick 9-5 in the seventh-place match and Olathe Northwest freshman Thompson Tong outlasted Topeka senior Kris Snyder 9-7 for ninth.
5A: Raiders’ senior wins
Shawnee Mission South senior Kevin Kochersperger rallied past Topeka West’s Austin Davids 6-2, 6-2 and won the Kansas Class 5A singles state title on Saturday at Emporia High School. His victory propelled SM South to a second-place team finish behind Salina Central.
“Winning my senior year is really special,” Kochersperger said on Saturday. “It’s unreal that I would win when I haven’t been to state the last two years. I was really motivated.”