BY RICK PETERSON, JR.
PRAIRIE VILLAGE – Central Plains Oiler No. 2 seeded Peyton Ryan (33-1) has lost two matches to two state champions after losing 7-5, 6-0 in the 3-1A state tennis championship to Wichita Collegiate's Nicholas Grabon (26-0). Ryan (37-1) placed fifth last year with a loss to Rossville's state champion Alex Sherer.
Ryan played a spectacular first set, breaking Grabon's service twice for a shocking 4-3 lead. But Grabon rebounded to win four of the next five games. Grabon cruised in the second set.
It took everything Wichita Collegiate's Nick Grabon had to fend off Central Plains' Peyton Ryan in the first set of the Class 3-2-1A singles championship match.
The battle of the unbeatens lived up to its billing with Grabon outlasting Ryan, 7-5, in the first set to avoid losing a set for the first time this season.
From there, Grabon displayed the same form as he did throughout his dominant senior campaign, rolling to a 6-0 win in the second set to cap off his perfect season with a state title on Saturday at Harmon Park Tennis Complex.
"Peyton played a great match," Grabon said. "He did a good job of playing to his strengths and he found my weaknesses. But I was able to find another level toward the end of the first set, and I made the most of the opportunities that I was given.
"I cut down on the unforced errors. He was great at getting the ball back, but he wasn't really hurting me in points, so I had to find a way to get some consistency back and work until I could find a good opening."
Grabon (26-0) cruised through the first three matches of the tournament without losing a game before being tested by the sophomore Ryan, who entered with a 30-0 mark and had just one previous loss in his high school career.
After closing out the first set, it didn't take long for Grabon to find his rhythm in the second.
"It's always a good confidence boost when you can pull through in a tight set," Grabon said. "It just loosened me up a little bit where I felt like I could go for the ball. I felt comfortable and I really settled in after that. From there on, I really took control of the match and played a good set."
He earned redemption after dropping a heartbreaking 3-setter to Rossville's Alex Sherer in last year's state final.
"Situational preparedness is invaluable," Grabon said. "When you've been here before you feel a little more comfortable with what the feelings are like and how to handle a little bit of the pressure. That definitely helped me, not to say it was easy. It took me a little while to get settled in, but in the end, I was able to use that little bit of experience to my advantage and pull out the match."
Ryan advanced to the final with a 6-1, 6-1 semifinal win over Collegiate's Carter Drumright. He executed his game plan early on against Grabon.
"It was basically go out there and try to play my game, don't let him sway me in his direction," Ryan said. "He hit the lines pretty well (in the second set). I played not quite as well. He took advantage, made me run more and hit better shots."
Ryan improved from his fifth-place finish as a freshman.
"I'm very happy with how (the tournament) went," Ryan said. "I was just hoping to get top four, and to get second, I'm very happy with it."
Grabon's only other tight set on the season came against Buhler's Davian Spies, the eventual Class 4A singles champion. In that match, Grabon won the first set in a tiebreaker then took the second set, 6-0.
"It's funny, (Grabon) had so few opportunities to play full-out, and then find some of his best stuff being returned and dealt with," Collegiate coach Dave Hawley said. "We knew Peyton was a good player. In fact, we had a comparable score with (Spies) earlier in the year, so we knew he was the real deal; I think (Grabon) was a little surprised that he was THAT real of a deal. But getting the first set was huge. Just like in the match against Davian Spies, It just made all the difference in the world."
Grabon's title highlighted a dominant showing for Collegiate, which racked up 52 points to win the team title. Wichita Trinity was second with 20 points and Hesston took third with 19 points, winning a tiebreaker over Smoky Valley.
It was a fitting end to Grabon's competitive tennis career. He will step away from tennis next season and study industrial engineering at Northwestern University.
"Even more than the individual singles championship, winning as a team, is a great feeling," Grabon said, "and to come in and do it in Kansas City and to do it by such a huge margin. Everybody played really well this weekend. Everybody left everything out on the court, and it could not be a better ending to my high school career."
Ryan cruised past Wichita Classical's Charlie Graham 6-0, 6-1, Wichita Trinity's J.J. Henderson 6-0, 6-0 and Wichita Collegiate's Carter Drumright 6-1, 6-1 to advance to the finals.
Hoisington's Evan Folz/Chase Maier (15-7) won two of five matches and lost 9-4 to Marysville's Blake Spicer/Simeon Wassom for 11th place. Ellinwood’s Evan Ringwald (15-16) and Ellinwood’s Cole Ringwald (16-15) were eliminated in singles play.
Wichita Collegiate (52 points) dominated for its record-breaking 26th boys team championship with a singles champion and doubles runner-up. The Spartans have captured 19 doubles and 13 singles state titles.
3-1A STATE TOURNAMENT
TEAM TOTALS–1–Wichita Collegiate 52; 2–Wichita Trinity 20; 3–Smoky Valley 19; Hesston 19, 5–Wichita Classical 18; 6–KC Christian 16; 7–Central Plains 14, Hutchinson Trinity 14; 9–Salina Sacred Heart 12; 10–Shawnee Maranatha 9; 11–Meade 8; 12–WaKeeney Trego 7; 13–Marysville 4; 14–Hoisington 3, Scott City 3, South Barber 3; 17–Ellsworth 2, Cimarron 2, 19–Ellinwood 1, Conway Springs 1, Colby 1
1–Nicholas Grabon, WC (26-0) def. Peyton Ryan, Central Plains (33-1), 7-5, 6-0
3–Carter Drumright, WC def. Max Kice, Wichita Classical, 6-2, 6-1
5–Max Bieker/SV def. J.J. Henderson, WT, 9-0
7–Keaton Leiker, SV def. Casey Perrin, SSH, 9-2
9–Caden Brown, Trego def. Cole Mathews, WT, 9-5
11–Jace Douglas, SSH def. Connor Harcrow, Hutchinson Trinity, 9-5
SEMIFINALS–Grabon def. Kice, 6-0, 6-0; Ryan def. Drumright, 6-1, 6-1
QUARTERFINALS–Grabon def. Douglas, 6-0, 6-0; Kice def. Bieker, 6-0, 6-3; Ryan def. Henderson, 6-0, 6-0; Drumright, def. Harcrow, 6-0, 6-1
FIRST 2 ROUNDS–Perrin def. Dylan Duff, Scott City, 6-1, 6-2; Grabon def. Perrin, 6-0, 6-0; Douglas def. Simone Cardile, Colby, 6-1, 6-3; Douglas def. Xander Myers, South Barber, 6-0, 6-4; Kice def. Cristyan Grajeda, Hutchinson Trinity, 6-1, 6-1; Kice def. Avry Noll, Scott City , 6-0, 6-4; Mathews def. Evan Ringwald, Ellinwood, 6-0, 6-0; Bieker def. Mathews, 6-2, 6-3; Charlie Graham, Wichita Classical def. Riley Johnson, Conway Springs, 6-0, 6-1; Ryan def. Graham, 6-0, 6-0; Henderson def. Cole Ringwald, Ellinwood, 6-0, 6-0; Henderson def. Brown, 6-7, 4-6 (10-4); Leiker def. Vincent Lynn, Meade, 6-3, 6-1; Harcrow def. Leiker, 6-7, 6-2, (10-2); Luke Janzen, Cimarron def. Ryan Waggoner, Hesston, 6-2, 7-5; Drumright, def. Janzen, 6-0, 6-1
CONSOLATION–Evan Ringwald def. Myers, 9-6; Perrin def. Evan Ringwald, 9-0; Janzen def. Cole Ringwald, 9-8 (7-2)
1–Caleb Bartels/James Vander Ark, KC Christian (12-0) def. Charlie Dunne/Charlie Nolan, Wichita Collegiate (17-3), 6-4, 6-3
3–Micah Dahlsten/Asher Deutschendorf, Hesston def. Anthony Clennan/Hagerman, Hutchinson Trinity, 6-2, 6-7, 6-2
5–Mark Feng/Sky Fujinuma, Wichita Collegiate def. Luke Fornwalt/Joe Goodman, Shawnee Maranatha, 9-5
7–Nico Rodrigo-Coffe/Korben Clawson, Meade def. Trevor Gamble/Joshua Shirley, Hesston, 9-2
9–Drew Bryant/Matt Draper, Wichita Trinity def. Max Ball/Noah Doom, Wichita Classical, 9-8 (7-0)
11–Blake Spicer/Simeon Wassom, Marysville def. Evan Foltz/Chase Maier, Hoisington, 9-4
SEMIFINALS–Bartels/Vander Ark def. Clennan/Hagerman, 6-1, 6-0; Dunne/Nolan def. Dahlsten/Deutschendorf, 6-4, 6-0
QUARTERFINALS–Bartels/Vander Ark def. Spicer/Wassom, 6-0, 6-2; Clennan/Hagerman, Hutchinson Trinity def. Ball/Doom, 2-6, 8-6, 6-4; Dahlsten/Deutschendorf def. Bryant/Draper, 6-4, 6-0; Charlie Dunne/Charlie Nolan, Wichita Collegiate def. Rodrigo-Coffe/Clawson, 6-3, 6-3
FIRST 2 ROUNDS–Sean Riordan/Ben Cheney, Salina Sacred Heart def. Cole Zongker/Ethan Mulligan, Haven, 6-3, 6-3; Bartels/Vander Ark def. Riordan/Cheney, 6-0, 6-0; Spicer/Wassom def. Jace Pauly/Layne Whitney, Conway Springs, 6-1, 6-2; Spicer/Wassom def. Jalil Cardenas/Jakob Koon, Colby, 6-0, 6-2; Feng/Fujinumadef. Foltz/Maier, 6-2, 6-4; Clennan/Hagerman def. Feng/Fujinuma, 7-5, 5-7 (10-8); Ball/Doom def. Houston Frank/Sage Stoecklein, Scott City, 6-0, 6-1; Ball/Doom def. Brendan Anderson/Chase Bourbon, Ellsworth, 6-2, 6-2; Bryant/Draper def. Dante Franco/Ayden Presson, Scott City, 6-2, 6-0; Bryant/Draper def. Fornwalt/ Goodman def. Isaac Brungardt/Micah Burk, Trego, 6-1, 6-1; Dahlsten/Deutschendorf def. Fornwalt/Goodman, 6-2, 6-2; Bryant/Draper def. Isaac Winter/Levi Mies, Conway Springs, 6-3, 6-2; Gamble/Shirley def. Kaden Harding/Alec Pfaff, Chaparral, 6-1, 6-1; Rodrigo-Coffe/Clawson def. Gamble/Shirley, 6-2, 6-0
CONSOLATION–Foltz/Maier def. Riordan/Cheney, 9-6; Foltz/Maier def. Frank/Stoecklein, 9-5; Clawson-Rodrigo Coffe def. Foltz/Maier, 9-2; Bryant/Draper def. Foltz/Maier, 9-4