HESSTON — Central Plains, last year’s 3-1A state tennis runner-up, will face a rugged tennis regional Friday featuring Central Kansas League champion Smoky Valley and CKL runner-up Hesston.
The Oilers feature five state tournament veterans from back-to-back state runners-up.
Devin Ryan and Paxton Hammeke placed as 3A runner-up and teammates Brett Liebl and Kade Beck placed third last year. Lawson Oeser and J.J. Heredia each won two state singles matches last year.
The top-seeded Ryan and Liebl (19-0) are unbeaten with an 8-3 victory over likely No. 2 seed Smoky Valley’s Matt Lucas-Jake Lucas (19-2), who placed seventh in 4A last year.
The Oilers’ No. 2 doubles tandem Hammeke and Oeser (17-2) lost to Smoky Valley’s Lucas tandem 8-2 and Abilene’s Luke Kohler-Cody Schiffner 8-4.
It’s an early preview of next week’s state tournament. Smoky Valley won the CKL meet and the Vikings and Swathers played in all four championship matches.
Hesston’s Logan Gamble (25-4) and Sterling’s William Weiner (20-4) headline the singles division. Weiner placed fourth and Gamble placed sixth last year. Gamble beat Weiner 8-5 April 24.
The top six singles and doubles finishers qualify for the 3-1A state tournament May 10-11 at Prairie Village’s Harmon Park.
3A WAKEENEY — Larned Indian Dalton Penka (17-9) will seek his fourth state tennis berth. He’ll be seeded behind Ellsworth’s returning fourth-place state finisher Joey Oberle (24-1) and Colby’s ninth-place state finisher Drew Starbuck (23-2). Oberle beat Penka 6-3, 6-1. Starbuck has beaten Penka 8-2, 8-2 and 6-1, 6-0.
Oberle will be the top singles seed after beating Starbuck 6-1, 6-4 April 23 after losing 6-4 to Starbuck March 28. Starbuck beat Heredia 8-2 after losing an earlier match to Heredia 8-6 April 26.
5A MCPHERSON — Great Bend will compete at the 5A McPherson regional with singles entries Matthew Phillips (9-7) and Hayden Honomichl (16-12) and doubles Josh Hoisington-Malachi Williams (4-9) and Jordan Popp-Roger Arias (3-5).
REGIONAL TENNIS SITES
MCPHERSON—Great Bend, Hays High, Maize High, McPherson, Newton, Salina Central, Salina South, Valley Center
HESSTON—Claflin-Central Plains, Ellinwood, Hesston, Hillsboro, Hutchinson Trinity, Smoky Valley, Salina Sacred Heart, Sterling
LAWRENCE—Clay Center, Columbus, Concordia, Hiawatha, Lawrence Seabury, Marysville, KC Christian, Shawnee Maranatha
WAKEENEY—Cimarron, Colby, Ellsworth, Hoisington, Larned, Meade, Russell, Scott City, WaKeeney Trego
WICHITA—Chaparral, Conway Springs, Douglass, Haven, Kiowa South Barber, Neodesha, Wichita Collegiate, Wichita Classical, Wichita Independent