HOISINGTON — The Central Plains High School Oilers tennis team placed first at the Hoisington Invitational on April 10, with a total of 28 team points — 12 points over second-place Scott City in the four-team tournament.
Oilers tennis star Layne Bieberle won the No. 1 singles bracket, defeating Scott City’s Chris Green 8-0, Trego’s Isaiah Fabrizius 8-1 and Hoisington’s Cameron Davis 8-1. Bieberle placed fourth in the 2013 Class 3-1A State Tennis Tournament, paving the way for the Oilers to finish third as a team.
Michael Ryan, the No. 2 singles player for the Oilers, defeated Scott City’s Alberto Araisa 8-0, Trego’s Tyler Lowrey 8-0 and Hoisington’s Jacob Satterlee 8-0 to take first in his bracket. Ryan earned a ninth-place medal last season at the state tournament.
The No. 1 doubles team of Merritt Hammeke and Carson Kirmer placed first with six team points. They defeated Scott City’s team of Allen/Birney 8-1 and Trego’s team of Haxton/Gillman-Goss 8-2 before defeating Hoisington’s team of Smith/McHenry 8-6 to get the win. Hammeke and Kirmer placed 10th in No. 1 doubles action last season at state.
The Oilers’ No. 2 team of Brady Rugan and Michael Lamatsch placed second. Scott City’s team of Hutchins/Hess beat them by a score of 8-5. The boys beat the Trego team of Pfannenstiel/Conness by a score of 8-6 and Hoisington’s team of Knapp/Brown 8-2. Lamatsch qualified for the state tournament last season as a No. 2 doubles player.
“It’s nice to be returning the number of players that we have,” said Central Plains head tennis coach Gary Bittner. “We are going to miss Matt Demel, who was on our State qualifying number two doubles team, had a football injury and was not released to play tennis this spring.”
Demel was released to compete in track this season for the Oilers.
“We also lost Evan Liebl, who qualified two years ago, as his knees were unable to hold up,” Bittner said. “So we are going to look for Brady Rugan or Tyler Bailey to fill in one of the positions and I’m sure that the hard work they have put in will pay off.
“We do have some obstacles to overcome this year, as the 3A-2A-1A field will include Wichita Collegiate and Hesston that were both 4A teams last season. They will be a force along with Kansas City Christian in addition to Conway Springs — and a lot of local teams. So we have a major task ahead of us.”
The Oilers are currently ranked fifth in the state by the Kansas Tennis Coaches Association.