When the Class 3-1A boys state tennis meet begins on Friday in Hillsboro, four area high schools will be represented — Hoisington, Ellinwood, Larned and Claflin.
Kale Clawson will be representing Ellinwood in the singles competition in Hillsboro after taking second place at a regional in Trego. Clawson has a record of 5-5 this season because he spent most of the year as part of the Eagles’ No. 1 doubles team.
The Monday before the regional, Clawson’s doubles partner fell ill and couldn’t compete.
“He played doubles almost the whole season,” Ellinwood head coach Lyle Stickney said. “His partner got pneumonia and had to go to the emergency room. So he moved to singles and my No. 1 and No. 2 singles became a doubles team.
“He played singles last year. He has good power, and he has the tools to advance into Saturday.”
Ellinwood’s doubles team Shawn Troyer and Cody Isern has a record of 4-2 this season and took fifth place at the Trego regional.
“They were the No. 1 and No. 2 singles throughout most of the year,” Stickney said. “They are both very effective players. They can do well enough to advance on Friday.”
Hoisington’s Ethan Smith took third place at the Trego regional and has a 14-13 record.
“He qualified last year as a doubles team,” Hoisington head coach Kerry Mooney said. “He has been up and down this season. His record would be better, but he’s had some injuries this season.
“He’s been looking a lot better over the last two or three weeks.”
The Cardinals will also be sending Chris Batt and Chance Buntain as a doubles duo. The combo took third place in Trego and has a record of 21-11 this season.
“It is the first time that either of them have qualified for state,” Mooney said. “They really compliment each other. One is more fiery while the other is a little more laid back. We’ve basically just been working on volleys and ball placement.”
Claflin’s Benn Kirmer claimed the top finish at the Trego regional to qualify for the state meet. His record this season is 21-8.
“Benn qualified for the state meet as part of a doubles team his freshman and sophomore years,” Claflin head coach Gary Bittner said. “This year he has made the transition from doubles to singles. He’s really had a nice year.
“Our goal is to medal at the state meet. If we medal, than we will be proud and honored and we’ll feel that the season was a success.”