Rockhurst senior Justin Nogalski will never forget his exit after playing in his last high school tennis match.
Nogalski was surrounded by family, friends and teammates as they celebrated the Class 2 doubles championship Saturday. Nogalski and sophomore Collin Klumb needed three sets to defeat Kenji Yanaba and Dillon Youngberg of Parkway West 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 in the title match in the Missouri boys state tennis tournament at Cooper Tennis Complex.
“This helps a little to take the sting away from our not completing our four-peat Thursday,” said Nogalski, whose team lost in the Class 2 team tournament to Rock Bridge in the championship match.
And the doubles title was especially sweet coming against Parkway West. Nogalski and Michael Michaelis lost in the finals last year to Yanaba and William Tong.
“I have been working every day for this moment,” said Nogalski, who missed 25 days because of lower back soreness before returning for the individual district tournament. “They are a very strong team and it was good to get revenge against them. We needed to stay positive as there were some ups and downs.”
Klumb had the perfect one-word description of his mood after celebrating the title.
“Crazy,” said Klumb, who finished seventh in singles last year. “We had two different goals and at least we got one of them with the title today.”
The championship was the lone one by Kansas City-area players.
Class 1 was dominated by team champion MICDS. The Rams had both finalists in the singles and doubles finals. That is thought to be a first in state history. Joe McAllister won the Class 1 singles title, and Rex Serituk and Rohit Chouhan won Class 1 doubles.
Pembroke Hill’s Josh Bortnick finished third in singles, and Cormac Chester and Tripp Dearborn of Pembroke Hill were third in doubles in Class 1.
Staley sophomore Carson Gates lost for the first time all season in the Class 2 singles championship. He lost 6-3, 6-3 to Parkway South sophomore Carson Haskins, who recently won the prestigious Easter Bowl title in Indian Wells.
The tide turned for Haskins when he broke at 3-3 in the first set after being down 40-0.
“I think his national experience may have paid off,” Gates said. “I had a lot of chances, especially in the second set. If I could have converted, I could have forced it to a third set.”
That in itself would have been a first against the top-ranked player nationally in boys 16. Haskins has not lost a set in high school.
“30-1 is not bad, although I would have loved 30-0,” Gates said. “First place would have been better.”
Gates, who did not play high school tennis as a freshman, said he will more than likely play again with Staley next year.
Rockhurst senior Sinjin Nair closed out his high school career with a medal, finishing eighth in singles in Class 2.
The Lee’s Summit team of senior Kevin Glenn and sophomore Ethan Henry won four of their five matches, capturing the consolation championship. Glenn and Henry finished the season with a 36-1 record.
“My goal was to place and be all-state and we met those goals,” Glenn said. “It was a great tournament and a great season.”