The Newton High School boys’ tennis team will send a singles entry and a doubles entry to state following a fifth-place finish in the Class 5A regional tournament at the Phil Scott Tennis Center in Newton.
Maize won the team title with 18 points, qualifying all four entries to state. Valley Center was second at 12, followed by Salina Central at 11, Salina South at nine and Newton at eight. Great Bend finished scoreless. Valley Center, Salina Central and Salina South each qualified two entries to state.
“It was a good day,” Newton coach Nick Sisson said. “Everybody won their first-round match. Pablo (Ferrer) had to play his own teammate to qualify for state and played a great match. It’s unfortunate he couldn’t go next week, but he’s been a great addition to the team. Brandon (Murrell) followed with another three-set match. He almost got fifth place. Cody (Murrell) and Jason (Wong) were seeded ninth. They got a revenge win over Salina Central, who beat them last week. They lost their next two matches, but this was a pretty loaded field to try and get through. Max (Karst) and Jordan (Singh) got an early upset win in the quarterfinals. I’m proud of the whole team. I wish we could have gotten everyone through, but that’s the way it goes in regionals. We’re looking forward to next week. We will have our work cut out for us.”
The top six finishers in both singles and doubles advance to state, which begins Friday at the Kossover Tennis Center in Topeka.
In the singles finals, Will Hayes of Salina Central downed top seed Garrett Rogers of Valley Center 6-0, 6-0. In the doubles finals, Kaden Jobe and Chase Schreiner of Maize downed Joey Wilson and Gavin Aills of Salina South 7-5, 6-3.
All four Railer entries won in the first round. Karst and Singh posted an upset over third-seeded Nolan Foth and Carson Michaelis of Salina Central 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 in the quarterfinals to clinch a state berth. Karst and Singh fell to second seeded Joey Wilson and Gavin Aills of Salina South 7-5, 6-2.
In the third-place match, Karst and Singh fell to Hayden Bauer and Colby Swift Valley Center 6-2, 6-4.
“I’m so excited to be going,” Karst said. “It’s my first year playing regionals. There were a lot of nerves and expectations. We’re going. Nothing else matters. This is gravy on top. (Foth and Michaelis) beat us at home and we’ve been working to play teams at that level. We were just on it today. (In the third-place match,) we didn’t have the focus we needed. We were so excited. We’re in a good spot right now.”
“(Foth and Michaelis) had beaten us before,” Singh said. “We wanted to play them at other tournaments, but it never happened. It was fitting that we met in regionals. We did everything we needed to do. We stayed focused on every point and not worry about past points. (In the third-place match), in the first set, we weren’t sure what we were doing. In the second set, we did what we needed to do, but we were in too deep of a hole. When we do get down, we know how to fix it.”
Singh competed at state last year. He teamed with Felipe Lene to take second at state in doubles. He said he competed with Karst for most of last season, changing partners at the league meet.
“I played with Max for two seasons,” Singh said. “I know what he’s going to do. Our goal is to medal. A top-six medal would be adequate. I’d really like to win it. It’s going to be tough. It’s like this every year. We knew this was going to be a tough regional and we weren’t too floored about it.”
Singh finished his day by signing a letter of intent to compete at Bethel this fall.
Both Pablo Ferrer and Brandon Murrell lost in the quarterfinals. Brandon Murrell defeated his teammate 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 in the consolation semifinals to advance to state and end the other’s season.
In the fifth-place match, Brandon Murrell fell to Carson Harris of Salina South 6-7 (7-4), 6-1, 7-5.
“I thought it went really well,” Brandon Murrell said. “It was kind of bad circumstances that I had to play my teammate to get into that fifth-sixth place match to qualify. I think it was a great match and he is a great player. I’m going to miss him when he’s gone. I think it was a really great day overall. Having to play my teammate just got me down a little more than just having to play the fifth-place match. I wanted to win that match even more.”
Brandon is a first-time state qualifier.
“I just want to make it as far as I can and try to make it to day two,” he said. “To get a medal would just be awesome with all the competition in Class 5A singles. My goal is to get to that second day.”
Cody Murrell and Jason Wong lost in the consolation semifinals to end the season.
Class 5A Regional Tennis
Phil Scott Tennis Center
Team scores — Maize 18, Valley Center 12, Salina Central 11, Salina South 9, Newton 8, Great Bend 0.
First round — Garrett Rogers VC bye; Akass Bhakta SC def. Josh Davis VC 6-0, 6-0; Ethan Pfiefer M def. Matthew Phillips GB 6-2, 6-4; Carson Harris SS bye; Will Hayes SC bye; Brandon Murrell N def. Rigo Miranda GB 6-1, 6-0; Pablo Ferrer N def. Eli Truhe SS 6-2, 6-3; Brennan Sanders M bye.
Quarterfinals — Rogers VC def. Bhakta SC 6-0, 6-0; Pfiefer M def. Harris SS 6-3, 1-6, 10-6 TB; Hayes SC def. B.Murrell N 6-1, 6-0; Sanders M def. Ferrer N 6-0, 6-1.
Semifinals — Championship: Rogers VC def. Pfeifer M 6-0, 6-1; Hayes SC def. Sanders M 6-4, 6-1. Consolation: Harris SS def. Bhakta SC 6-1, 6-2; B.Murrell N def. Ferrer N 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.
Medal round (state qualifiers) — Championship: Hayes SC def. Rogers VC 6-0, 6-0. Third place: Sanders M def. Pfeiffer M 6-3, 6-3. Fifth place: Harris SS def. B.Murrell N 6-7 (7-4), 6-1, 7-5.
First round — Jobe-Schreiner M bye; C.Murrell-Wong N def. Beach-Hendrick SC 6-2, 6-1; Kratzer-Ohnmeis M def. Reeves-Talbot SS 6-0, 6-0; Bauer-Swift VC bye; Foth-Michael SC bye; Karst-Singh N def. Frizzell-Osoma GB 6-0, 6-0; McCune-McClure VC def. Talamonts-Studer GB 6-1, 6-1; Aills-Wilson SS bye.
Quarterfinals — Jobe-Schreiner M def. C.Murrell-Wong N 6-2, 6-1; Bauer-Swift VC def. Kratzer-Ohnmeis M 6-3, 6-4; Karst-Singh N def. Foth-Michael SC 7-6 (7-2), 6-2; Aills-Wilson SS def. McCune-McClure VC 6-1, 4-6, 10-5 TB.
Semifinals — Championship: Jobe-Schreiner M def. Bauer-Swift VC 5-7, 6-3, 6-4; Aills-Wilson SS def. Karst-Singh N 7-5, 6-2. Consolation: Kratzer-Ohnmeis M def. C.Murrell-Wong N 6-3, 6-2; Foth-Michaelis SC def. McCune-McClure VC 6-3, 7-6 (7-2).
Medal round (state qualifiers) — Championship: Jobe-Schreiner M def. Aills-Wilson SS 7-5, 6-3. Third place: Bauer-Swift VC def. Karst-Singh N 6-2, 6-4. Fifth place: Foth-Michaelis SC def. Kratzer-Ohnmeis M 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.