Serving up an outstanding beginning to the 2013 tennis season, the Pratt High boys’ tennis team captured 1st place at its opening meet. The Greenbacks were two matches shy of running the table and lead all teams with 26 points, followed by Dodge City (17), Sterling (17), and Ulysses (0).
“We finally got a break in the weather and Thursday turned out to be a beautiful day for tennis. I was very pleased with the boys’ focus and intensity. We had some initial nerves and there were some close matches which we won and lost, but it was a good beginning to a challenging season,” said coach Larry Kahmeyer.
Senior Thomas Mayberry secured 1st place at the #1 singles spot and had a nearly perfect outing in dropping one game the entire day. Facing Sterling’s Brashear in the opening round, Mayberry dropped the first game, then ran off the next eight. Mayberry dispatched Dodge’s foreign exchange student Gotte 8-0, then ended his day with a quick 8-0 victory over Cortez from Ulysses.
“Thomas had a much improved showing at this meet than last year,” said Kahmeyer. “In 2012 he went 1-2 for 3rd place and was a little rusty after the long state run in basketball. This year he had a little more practice time to get in rhythm and he found his stride early. I was aware when he lost the opening game and was hoping it wouldn’t be a repeat of 2012, but Thomas quickly proved it wasn’t. After losing that first game, he ran off the next 24 and I was very proud of his effort and focus.”
In a new pairing at the #1 doubles position, juniors Liam Kahmeyer and Christian Kurz faced some challenging competition, but followed suit to go 3-0 for 1st. After putting away Dodge City’s Burkhard and Goedeken 8-1, the pair found some tougher competition in Sterling’s Fair and Hendricks. Falling behind 2-4, the boys settled in to salt away the next six games to win 8-4. Defeating Anthony and Scott from Ulysses 8-0 secured the 1st place hardware.
“Liam and Christian have the stuff of a potentially great doubles team. They are good friends and have worked together athletically for many years. They move well together and communicate. To be a really elite team, they’ve got some work to do, but the talent and raw ingredients are there. The win over Sterling was huge, especially after falling behind, and they are both very competitive,” Kahmeyer said.
At #2 singles senior Jonathan Schotte had perhaps the best outing of his career in a 3-0, 1st place day. Schotte opened with a quick 8-0 win over Sterling’s Wheeler, then found himself in a battle with Brock from Dodge City. Falling behind 0-3, Schotte switched to a more patient rally-style of play to eventually take a 7-6 lead. Brock evened the score at 7-all to force a tie-breaker. In classic seesaw fashion, Schotte finally put him away 7-5 to claim the victory. The match against Ulysses’ Nunez was an easier 8-0 cool down to claim 1st.
Page 2 of 2 - “This was a huge day for Jonny,” enthused Kahmeyer. “He’s always wanted to try his hand at singles and he rose to the challenge. The win over Brock was a good one. He’s an incredibly consistent player and Jonny had to dig deep to find the patience to hang with him…and he did. He’s showing much growth and maturity in his game.”
In Pratt’s most difficult outing of the day, Shivam Bhakta and Trae Foreman paired up to play at the #2 doubles spot. They lost a close 6-8 match to Askew and Waldman from Dodge, followed by a heartbreaking tiebreaker loss to Sterling’s Weiner and Comley. They wrapped up a 3rd place medal in a 8-1 victory over Ulysses.
“Shivam and Trae are a new pairing and were forced to work out the kinks in a varsity venue. They gave it their best effort, but I know they were nervous and consequently tight. That cost them a few games that made the difference between going 1-2 instead of 3-0. With some more experience, I’m confident they’ll tip the scales in their favor,” reflected Kahmeyer. “They are both solid and dynamic players and I know they’ll find success.”
The Greenbacks head to Smoky Valley on Tuesday for one of the most challenging meets of the regular season.