BHS qualifies three for state tennis
The Baldwin High School tennis team was more than excited after finishing its Class 4A regional tournament Saturday at Topeka-Hayden.
BHS will be sending three regional placers to the state tournament this upcoming weekend in Pratt. Senior Levi Moore qualified in the singles division, while junior Tim Larson and sophomore Tucker Brown qualified as a doubles team.
“These guys have worked hard to get to this point,” coach Justin Hoffman said. “A trip to Pratt for the 4A state tournament will be a good experience for them. Levi is culminating his career and Tim and Tucker are going to have the opportunity to compete and prepare for the next season by seeing the level of competition at the state tournament.”
As the tournament would go on Saturday, it would lead to two Bulldogs playing each other with only the winner advancing to the state tournament. Moore and junior Chris Schrapel (an exchange student from Germany) battled for the sixth-place spot.
Finishing one round short of qualifying last year, Moore was excited to come back and qualify for state his senior year.
“It feels great to make it to state,” Moore said. “It would feel better if I didn’t have to play Chris to make it.”
Moore defeated Schrapel in a match that advanced into a tiebreaker.
“Levi was the better player in the tiebreaker,” Schrapel said. “It was tough being so close to qualifying, then falling short, but I’m really happy for him.”
Hoffman was proud of Moore’s performance.
“Levi has made steady progression through his four-year tennis career,” Hoffman said. “He started as a freshman with no tennis experience and has worked hard to become a good tennis player. His dedication and hard work have paid off. Last year he was one round away from qualifying from the state tournament and qualified this year.
“The only unfortunate part is that Levi had to play Chris for the right to go to state,” he said. “They battled for quite a while, but eventually Levi won in a match tiebreaker.”
This year will be the first state appearance for both doubles players.
“Tim and Tucker are only starting to realize just how good a doubles team they can be,” Hoffman said. “They were a couple of points away from dumping the No. 2 seed and qualifying on Friday, but could not close out the eventual regional runner-up.
“They struggled to get started on Saturday against a tough team from Topeka-Hayden and lost the first set in a tiebreak,” he said. “The boys showed some good mental toughness by coming back to win the second set easily and then gave me a few gray hairs by getting down match point in the match tiebreak before winning it 12-10.”
The players are excited about the opportunity to play at state.
“We still have a little bit to work on, so hopefully the weather cooperates so we can get some good practices in before the tournament,” Brown said. “I think it’s awesome we made it to state, it’s a great opportunity.”
Because of weather, the team didn’t have practice Monday night.
“I’m somewhat happy it rained on Monday,” Moore said. “This way our bodies have an extra day of rest to get back to par. We can’t wait to get to state and bring back the title.”