The Pratt High School Tennis Team battled the elements to capture second at the Pratt Invitational with both doubles teams going 3-0 for gold.
Opening day in any spring sport can be a roll of the bones and the Greenbacks boys’ first meet of the 2014 tennis season came up cold, damp, and windy. With Thursday’s temperature in the mid-40s, wind chill in the mid-30s, and gusts up to 20 mph, the men battled the elements and opponents to a second place team finish.
Sterling captured first place with 23 points, followed by Pratt’s 20 and Dodge City’s 17. Ulysses was unable to put any points on the board and finished a distant fourth.
Pacing the Greenbacks were both doubles teams who went 3-0 for gold. The returning state medalist team of Liam Kahmeyer and Christian Kurz opened with a 7-2, 7-0, and 7-2 shellacking of Sterling, Dodge City, and Ulysses, respectively.
At the No. 2 spot, the senior team of Evan Fowler and David Parmar followed suit with two 7-5 wins over Sterling and Dodge, then wrapped up with an easier 7-1 win over Ulysses to complete the trifecta.
Pleased with the doubles team, head coach Larry Kahmeyer said, “I was impressed with both teams for different reasons. After basketball season, Liam had minor foot surgery and hadn’t practiced with Christian at all. He got medically cleared at 11:30 the same day of the meet, so their first real practice together was also a real match.
They responded beautifully, picking up where they left off without missing a beat. Christian has won this tournament twice in doubles and Liam has won it all four years, two in singles and two in doubles. I’ve valued Christian’s leadership to start the season and now that Liam is back on the court, I expect great things out of them this year.”
Continuing with his praise, Kahmeyer said, “Evan and David had to fight a little harder for their wins, but they came through in the clutch. Down 2-5 to Sterling in their opening match, they rallied for five straight games to win 7-5. They did what they had to do to secure another 7-5 win over Dodge and then dominated Ulysses. They’ve still got to eliminate some unforced errors, but I was very pleased with their will to fight for wins.”
The singles players had a tougher day, but still nailed down some big wins. At the No. 1 spot, junior Matt Loomis saw his first varsity action and went 1-2 for third place hardware. Dropping the opener 2-7 to Sterling and the second round 3-7 to Dodge, Loomis ended the day with a 7-1 defeat of Ulysses.
Ethan Sharp, at the No. 2 singles spot, also saw his first varsity action, going 1-2 for third. Losing 1-7 to Sterling, Sharp fought out a tougher 5-7 loss to Dodge, then cleaned up with a 7-1 win over Ulysses.
“Matt and Ethan had a tougher day in the win column, but I was still pleased with their competiveness and how they applied what we’ve been working on in practice,” Kahmeyer said. “Matt likes to hit hard and he’s been working on dialing back the power in situations that require a placement shot. He made some huge strides with his mental discipline and I think it was a break-through for him. Ethan, like Matt, is very competitive and he hates to lose. He fought for every point and came very close in his second match. With more reps on working out his shots and some varsity experience, he will come along nicely.”
The Greenback netters take to the courts again at the always-tough Smoky Valley tournament at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8.