Swather tennis team survives heat at meet

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Hesston High tennis player Gracie Dawes finished second at first singles at the Hesston Invitational. The Swathers were fifth in the team standings and play Tuesday at the Hillsboro Invitational.

HESSTON — The Hesston Swather girls’ tennis team opened the season under near 100-degree heat, taking fifth at the Hesston Invitational I Thursday at the Hesston High School tennis courts and the Ward Tennis Center on the Bethel College campus.

“I thought we really well,” Hesston coach Travis Sebits said. “We were concerned because we haven’t been able to practice in the afternoons much because of the heat. I thought we handled the heat well.”

Hesston High tennis player Maggie Carlson competes at second singles at the Hesston Invitational. Carlson took fifth.

The Swathers have been under heat protocols for the last week and a half.

“This is my 15th year here and in that time, I don’t think we’ve ever had a season like the last week and a half with the heat schedule,” Sebits said. “I didn’t think we were quite as prepared than we normally are, but everybody’s in the same boat. Hopefully, next week will be a little bit better.”

McPherson won the team title, followed by Buhler, Wichita Trinity Academy and Smoky Valley.

Hesston High tennis player Emily Friesen competes at first doubles at the Hesston Invitational. Friesen and Kori Kramer finished fifth.
Hesston High player Kori Kramer competes at first doubles in the Hesston Invitational.

Hesston was led by Gracie Dawes, who finished in second place at first singles. Dawes fell in the finals to defending Class 4A state champion Isabella Sebits 8-1, the niece of the Hesston coach.

Maggie Carlson finished fifth at second singles.

The team of Emily Friesen and Kori Kramer finished fifth at first doubles. Hesston was sixth at second doubles.

“Gracie had a really nice day,” Travis Sebits said. “She had a really nice win in the semifinals against a really good McPherson player. She had to play the state champion in 4A too. She played really well in the finals.

“Our only state medalist wasn’t able to play today — Cassie Albin. She would have been on the one doubles team. We played quite a few new players. They hadn’t played much varsity. They all had to take a step up. Everybody got a win. Everybody went 2-1 except two doubles, and they went 2-1. It always takes a tournament to see what you need to work on. You can see things in practice, but until you play a match.”

Hesston plays Tuesday at the Hillsboro Invitational.

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com