Pratt High tennis took 3rd at Sterling on Tuesday.

Reaching the halfway point in the regular season, the Greenbacks boys’ tennis team played its fourth meet at Sterling on Tuesday.

Again weakened by a player absence, the best the boys could manage was 14 points to place 3rd behind Sterling’s 24 points, and Ellsworth’s 18. Hillsboro earned two points to place a distant 4th.

“We haven’t played the Sterling boys’ tournament in the past, so this was new for us. Still, I was hoping for a 2nd place finish but we just missed it by a match or two,” commented coach Larry Kahmeyer.

At the #1 singles helm, Matt Loomis rejoined the team after missing the last meet while battling a fever for several days. Playing to a 1-2 finish for 3rd, Loomis faced some tough competition. After dropping matches to Sterling’s Brashear 2-8 and Ellsworth’s Herzog 2-8, Loomis took an easy win when Hillsboro’s Sontag defaulted with a shoulder injury.

Of Loomis’ performance, Kahmeyer said, “Matt played well today. I know he’s frustrated with losing the two matches, but I’m still seeing improvement each time. His consistency and mental game is much improved - he just needs more court time to eliminate unforced errors. That’s basically the difference between Matt and the better players right now and I hope he can stay upbeat while learning those lessons.”

The #1 doubles team of Liam Kahmeyer and Christian Kurz wasn’t seriously tested and continued to steamroll opponents. Defeating Sterling’s Weiner/Fair 8-3, Hillsboro’s Cecil/Funk 8-0, and Ellsworth’s Keener/Torkelson 8-0, the boys cruised to a 3-0 finish for 1st.

“Sterling’s #1 doubles can be pretty good and I expected a tighter match, but Christian and Liam jumped out to a 6-0 lead and then won out at 8-3. Those were the only games they gave up all day. They are a very good team but as we enter the last half of the season, they need to continue to push themselves to get better and better. They have set high expectations for the post-season and with some disciplined focus in practice they can achieve all they want,” said Kahmeyer.

At the #2 singles spot, senior Cooper Crump saw his first varsity action while filling in for Ethan Sharp who was competing at a forensics meet. Crump went 0-3 for 4th, but gained some valuable experience at the higher level.

“It was fun to have Cooper with us today,” said Kahmeyer. “To his credit, he played his best and managed to win a game in each match. A lot of his games were close and the 1-8 scores don’t reflect his heart and effort.”

Following Loomis’ lead, the #2 doubles team of Evan Fowler and David Parmar went 1-2 but emerged on top of a three-way tie for 2nd place. The Pratt pair had the lead in every match, but picked up two 6-8 losses to Comley/Walker and McPherson/Lackey (filing in for Hillsboro), both from Sterling. The last match was a see-saw affair with the duo having a 4-2 lead, a 5-6 deficit, then closing out for a 8-6 win.

“Evan and David won 20 games and lost 22. That’s how close their matches were and that’s what helped them wrap up the 2nd place finish. They were a little off of their best today and I think they could’ve easily gone 2-1 or even 3-0, but to their credit, they rallied for a win in the last match,” said Kahmeyer.

The Greenbacks have a week off before heading to Chaparral on Tuesday, April 22.