The Barton Community College men’s and women’s tennis programs have added more area talent this offseason.
The Lady Cougars added Gentry McLeland and Darri Beckwith of Ellinwood High School’s 2011 Class 3-1A state championship team along with Aspen McCann of Ashland.
The Cougars added Larned’s Jeret Johnson and Ellinwood’s Kale Clawson to their roster.
“We’re going to be pretty heavy on Barton County talent this season,” Barton head coach Lyle Stickney said. “I view Barton as a community college and I try to gather quality talent from our community.
“Great Bend will have some quality kids coming up in the next couple years. I hope I can persuade them to play for us at Barton.”
Beckwith finished as doubles runners-up at the state tournament with partner Bailey Schartz, who signed to play next season at Washburn University in Topeka.
McLeland claimed ninth place at the state tournament with doubles teammate Kaitlyn Robl. The Lady Eagles won the state title, finishing 1.5 points ahead of second-place Conway Springs.
“I would have liked to have all five seniors off of the state championship team,” said Stickney, who coached McLeland, Beckwith and Clawson at Ellinwood. “That would have been great for me. Both girls played varsity three years. They were three-year state qualifiers. They’re state champs.
“They’re good athletes and they’re good students.”
McCann finished ninth at the 3-1A state tournament as a singles player for Ashland last season.
“McCann is a lovely talent,” Stickney said. “She’s got good technique, great strokes. She is definitely going to be a compliment to our squad.”
The Lady Cougars were recently named National Junior College Athletic Association Women’s Tennis Academic Team of the Year.
Johnson finished fourth at the 4A state tournament in singles last season after getting beat in the semifinals by state champion Quinn Dippel of Smoky Valley.
“Jeret is an unbelievable talent who finished fourth in 4A to end a golden season for him,” Stickney said. “He is a solid all-around player and a good kid. He’s going to be a wonderful asset for the program.”
Clawson qualified for the 3-1A state tournament as part of a doubles duo with Kyle Blakeslee. They were knocked out in the first round in last spring’s competition.
“Kale has a lot of upside,” Stickney said. “He hits the ball a ton. He just sometimes doesn’t know when to hold back a little bit. He has a lot of strength in his serve and in his ground stroke.”