Great Bend High School’s Nick Moyers and Chase Buntain are about to do something that no Panthers tennis player has done since 2003.
The pair will compete at the Class 5A state tennis tournament in Arkansas City on Friday and Saturday as a doubles team.
“They’ve got good chemistry,” Great Bend head coach Shannon Schartz said. “They both compliment each other a lot. They each have strong serves and play the net real well. When you get some of those weak returns coming back they take care of the point like doubles should be played.
“Their all-around game is pretty good. They’re probably the best doubles team in boys that I’ve ever coached. They have a high degree of skills. I’ve had some better athletes probably but never at this skill level.”
In 2003, Great Bend sent a doubles team and two singles players to the state tourament.
“Record-wise, this team is better than that team,” Schartz said. “I think that we went to some tougher tournaments that year, but our regional this season was more difficult. I think this doubles team is stronger than the one in 2003.”
Moyers, a junior, will be heading to a state tournament for the first time.
“This is my first year, and I’m really excited, too, because I’ve been working for this since I was a freshman,” Moyers said. “I’ve been working hard to get here.”
Buntain, a junior transfer from Hoisington, went to the 3-1A state tourney last year as a doubles competitor with Chris Batt. They won their first match, but were eliminated after losing the next two.
“I went over there for basketball, but I decided to quit basketball, so I came back here for tennis,” Buntain said. “I like tennis way better. I already know the mindset to have there because I’ve already been there. I know we have to win our first match in order to keep moving on, so that’s always good to know.”
For both Buntain and Moyers, tennis runs in the family.
“Chase’s sister went to state for me a few years back,” Schartz said. “I had two of Nick’s brothers, but neither of them went to state. He’s the first one in the family, but not the last. He’s got a younger sister that’s an eighth grader who will probably play varsity for the girls next year.”
Both players plan on returning for their senior campaign next year.
“It takes some of the pressure off because I know that even if I don’t do well, that I can work hard this summer and next season and come back,” Moyers said.
Moyers and Buntain will bring a 32-4 record to the state tournament.
“They compliment each other’s game,” Schartz said. “They both have strong serves. They both cover the net well. Chase has a great backhand cross court which works out well for doubles, and Nick does the same job on the forehand side or the deuce court. It just goes together like peanut butter and jelly.
“They both play aggressive. They like to play aggressive. They’ll serve and get to the net.”
The Panthers won’t know who they will face in the first round until Friday morning.
“Since we’re a fifth-place finisher, we’ll face a fourth-place team,” Schartz said. “It will be a fourth-place finisher from one of the other three regionals. At 9 a.m. Friday morning there is a coaches seeding meeting.
“We’re looking for someone from the Topeka regional because that wasn’t nearly as strong as our regional, I think.”