NEWTON — Nick Moyers and Chase Buntain reunited to compete in the high school ranks this season.
Buntain transferred to Hoisington and competed with the Cardinals last season, but he transferred back to Great Bend and joined Moyers to form Great Bend’s No. 1 doubles team.
Together, they finished fifth at a Class 5A regional tournament at Newton on Friday to qualify for the state tournament on Friday and Saturday in Arkansas City.
“He’s a Great Bend kid who transferred to Hoisington and just came back,” Great Bend head coach Shannon Schartz said. “They’ve been playing together forever.
“They played together in summer leagues. Nick has a tennis court in his back yard, and I know they are over there playing every day.”
It is that dedication to the sport that Schartz holds responsible for Great Bend’s successes this season, which included seven first-place finishes, three tournament sweeps and a Western Athletic Conference title.
“They are what I would describe as tennis players,” Schartz said. “They love the game. They’re playing all the time. I’ve had players before that would put down their racket until next season. Not these guys.
“That’s why we had so much success this year. I know Adam Neeland, Grant (Harris) and Austin (Jacobs) all play year-round.”
The Moyers-Buntain combination, which will be sporting a 32-4 overall record at the state tournament, is the first state qualifier from a Great Bend boys’ team since 2003.
“It’s been a big drought,” Schartz said.
Harris won his first-round match against Valley Center, but he lost to Newton and had to default against Salina South due to illness.
Jacobs fell to Salina Central in the first round to finish the season 26-6.
Ramon Garcia and Neeland lost to a Newton doubles team in a 10-7 tiebreaker in the first round. They had a 27-4 record this season.
“Overall, I think we did well,” Schartz said. “The competition was really tough. I was looking at other regionals and Garden City at 6A qualified their whole team, and we’ve beat them almost all year, so it was just a tough regional.
“Our second doubles team got really close to the second round. Austin was playing hurt, and Grant was sick. Grant still won the first round and had a couple of tiebreakers in there.”
— Kevin Price
HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS
Class 5A regional tournament
1. Salina Central, 24; 2. Newton, 15; 3. Kapaun-Mt. Carmel, 7; 4. Salina South, 6; 5. Great Bend, 4; 6. Hays, 1; 7. Valley Center, 1.
Great Bend results
Singles — Austin Jacobs lost to Salina Central, 6-1, 6-3.
Singles — Grant Harris def. Valley Center, 4-6, 6-1, (12-10); lost to Newton, 6-7 (0-7), 0-6; lost to Salina South, 7-6 (7-3), 0-6 default.
Doubles — Ramon Garcia & Adam Neeland lost to Newton, 2-6, 6-1, (7-10).
Doubles — Nick Moyers & Chase Buntain def. Wichita Kapaun, 6-2, 6-0; lost to Salina South, 1-6, 4-6; def. Hays 6-4, 6-4; def. Newton 6-3, 6-1.