Swather netters tie for title

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Hesston sophomore Micah Dahlsten competes at first doubles in the finals against Salina Central. Dahlsten and partner Cole Deutschendorf won the title, while Hesston tied for first in the team standings.
Hesston senior Cole Deutschendorf serves during the first doubles title Tuesday at the Hesston Invitational.
Hesston High School tennis player Brayden Bruner, along with partner Josh Shirley, won the second doubles title Tuesday at the Hesston Invitational.

HESSTON — The Hesston High School boys’ tennis team opened the season by tying Class 5A powerhouse Salina Central Tuesday at the Hesston Invitational.

Hesston Red and Central each scored 36 points. Wichita Trinity Academy was third at 24, followed by Goddard at 18, Smoky Vallet at 17, Hesston Black and Hutchinson Trinity each at 15 and Parsons at 10.

Central was ranked first in the Kansas Tennis Coaches Association pre-season rankings in Class 5A, while Hesston was third in Class 3-2-1A.

Hesston was led by the first doubles team of Cole Deutschendorf and Micah Dahlsten, who rallied to beat Brady Stack and McCabe Green of Saline Central 8-7 (7-3) in the finals.

“We were down 7-4 and I thought it was over,” Deutschendorf said. “I can’t remember which one, I thought it was the taller one, and he was smiling, and I thought that gave me a little extra motivation. I took that personal. After we broke the first time to get back to 7-5, Micah was strong with the serve. I just tried to give him as much positive reinforcement as I could. At that point, we needed just one point to get back in it.”

“Our backs were against the wall, and we found something within us,” Micah Dahlsten said.

Deutschendorf is a senior and a state qualifier from 2019, while Dahlsten is a sophomore. Last year’s season was canceled because of COVID-19.

“Last year, we had a lot of aspirations for doing pretty well,” Deutschendorf said. “We had Jeb (Carlson) and Logan (Gamble), who were both really good seniors, and Ethan Moran, who was another really good senior. Micah was coming up as an eighth grader. It was tough when our season got canceled.”

Deutschendorf and Dahlsten played USTA Team Tennis last summer, but many of the summer tournaments were canceled.

Zack Latta and Ryan Waggoner placed seventh at first doubles for the Hesston Black team.

At second doubles, the Hesston  Black team of Brayden Bruner and Josh Shirley beat the Hesston Red team of Ben Bollinger and Andrew Schmidt 8-7 (7-5).

Hesston’s Trevor Gamble placed fifth at first singles. Jimmy Yang was eighth at first singles for the Hesston Black team.

Josh Leinbach placed second at second singles. Noah LeFevre placed sixth for the Hesston Black squad.

“We got off to a good start for the season and I am very pleased with our efforts and results today,” Hesston coach Mark Dahlsten said. “We had two teams in our tournament today and both did some very nice things and competing very well. 

“Micah and Cole beat a very nice Salina Central team in the finals after being down 4-7 and coming back to get two breaks of serve to force a tiebreaker. It was awesome to see two Hesston teams battling in the finals of the second flight of doubles with Brayden and Josh coming from behind to win a tiebreaker as well. We also had good play from singles players Trevor Gamble (fifth at first singles) and Josh Leinbach (second at second singles). Again I am very pleased for an opening tournament and realize that that's what it is — an opening tournament and we do have things to do better but the kids should feel good about things.”

Hesston is off until April 6, competing at Smoky Valley in Lindsborg.

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com