HILLSBORO — Central Plains High School brought a young team, but the Oilers came through for a third-place finish at the Class 3-1A state tennis tournament on Saturday to take home some hardware.
Wichita Independent edged Kansas City Christian for first place by one point with 54. The Oilers finished with 25.
“I kind of thought that this state tournament would be a foundation for us,” Central Plains head coach Gary Bittner said. “I didn’t expect us to win a trophy this year. I think we were extremely satisfied with our performances.”
Central Plains brought one junior, four sophomores and a freshman to the state meet.
“The exciting news for us is that everybody is coming back next year,” Bittner said.
Sophomore Layne Bieberle led the Oilers, capturing fourth place in the singles competition.
He received a first-round bye and won two matches on Friday to advance to a semifinal match on Saturday.
He fell 6-0, 6-1 against Johnny Goodwin of Kansas City Christian and lost to Alex Kartsonis of Kansas City Christian 6-0, 6-4 in the third-place match.
“Another exciting thing for us was we only had one player back this year with state experience,” Bittner said. “Layne went to state as a freshman. We had young kids in their first state tournament, and we still did very well.”
Freshman Michael Ryan also got a first-round bye. He fell in the second round before battling back for ninth place, going 3-2 at the meet.
Junior Merritt Hammeke and sophomore Carson Kirmer received a first-round bye and won their second-round match to advance to the quarterfinals.
They lost two in a row to drop to the ninth-place bracket, falling to Turner Jones and William Vanderark of Kansas City Christian 9-4 in the ninth-place match.
Matt Demel and Michael Lamatsch were eliminated on Friday after losing their first two matches.
Marc Wait of Ellinwood lost his first two matches, getting eliminated in the second round 9-0 against Evan Bentley of Hutchinson Trinity.
Hoisington’s Evan Smith went 0-2 on Day 1, getting eliminated by Anthony Lloyd of Wichita Independent 9-6.
— Kevin Price