Kansas City-area teams will compete in five Kansas high school boys tennis regional tournaments Saturday to determine qualifiers for state tournaments. The top six singles and doubles finishers from each regional will advance to state. Here are five storylines to monitor.
1. Ravens dethrone SM East
After 12 runner-up finishes in the Sunflower League tournament, Olathe Northwest finally knocked off longtime powerhouse Shawnee Mission East. Now, the Ravens are determined not to be a one-hit wonder.
The Ravens were represented in the No. 1 singles and doubles finals, as well as the No. 2 singles and doubles finals. Three of their four finalists won — Lee Fitchett at No. 2 singles, Thompson Tong and Cutter Sanderson at No. 1 doubles and Andrew Buyle and David Boschma at No. 2 doubles.
Although Olathe Northwest will not face SM East in the Kansas Class 6A regional at the College Boulevard Activity Center, there will be plenty of other tough competition. The CBAC site will feature Blue Valley Northwest and BV North, ranked first and second, respectively, in the Kansas Tennis Coaches Association Class 6A state poll.
2. Lancers in unfamiliar territory
The flip side of the Sunflower League tournament story is that SM East enters the regionals weekend on a mission. Coach Sue Chipman’s squad is chasing its fourth consecutive Kansas Class 6A state championship.
The Lancers’ only Sunflower League tournament champion — No. 1 singles player Jack Santilli — aims for a strong showing. He’s looking to improve on last years’ second-place finish at the state tournament. He won a doubles state title as a freshman in 2013.
SM East will compete in the Kansas Class 6A regional at Rock Chalk Park Sports Pavilion in Lawrence, along with other Shawnee Mission schools.
3. EKL power houses
Only four points separated Blue Valley Northwest and BV North at last week’s Eastern Kansas League tournament, so expect another heated battle at regionals.
BV Northwest, which won the league title, had five of its six entrants reach the league tournament quarterfinals, and Jonathan Lowe and Brett White finished second in doubles. They were defeated by BV North’s Carson Fournier and Brady Flanagan, 6-7, 6-4, 10-8.
Both teams also had a singles semifinalist. BV Northwest’s James Lowe topped BV North’s Rohit Bhagat in the third-place match.
BV Northwest and BV North will compete in the Kansas Class 5A regional on Saturday at the College Boulevard Activity Center.
4. Jaguars to contend in 5A
Blue Valley West, which featured a second-place finisher in singles and two of the top three doubles teams at the Eastern Kansas League tournament, is taking a loaded squad into its Kansas Class 5A regional at Mill Valley.
Max Kurzban of BV West, who won the league title in 2014, placed second in the EKL to Blue Valley’s Anil Patel. Doubles team Bradley Mittleman and Hadley Cornish defeated teammates Ryan Moody and Hunter Sanders in the EKL third-place match.
The top-ranked Jaguars will compete in regionals with EKL foes BV Southwest and St. Thomas Aquinas.
5. Goodwin good to go
After missing the first part of the season with a lingering shoulder injury that hampered his serve, Kansas City Christian’s Johnny Goodwin has been cleared to play just in time for regional competition.
Goodwin is looking to win his third singles state title in Kansas Class 3-2-1A and could help the Panthers repeat as team champion, as well. KC Christian is ranked first in the Kansas Tennis Coaches Association state rankings.
Kansas City Christian will play in the Kansas Class 3-1A regional at Marysville, along with Immaculata and Maranatha Christian.