It all came down to one match for the Great Bend High School boys’ tennis team.
With the Western Athletic Conference title on the line, Great Bend’s No. 1 singles player Austin Jacobs rallied to force a tiebreaker and beat Garden City’s Sebastian Kyaw to clinch the championship for the Panthers at Veterans Memorial Park.
Great Bend battled fog and rain to go on to win 15 of 16 matches to win its first WAC title since 2004.
“We won in 2003 and 2004, I think we won in back-to-back years,” Schartz said. “It’s been a long time. In between there, we’ve had some weak teams. We’ve been at the bottom of the league, so it’s nice to get back there.”
Jacobs, who was playing with a pulled lower abdominal muscle, trailed Kyaw by one game until forcing the tiebreaker. He won the tiebreaker 11-9.
“I feel like I played decent,” Jacobs said. “I’ve definitely got to improve on some things like overheads, volleys and finishing points before regionals in order to get to state.
“Coach (Zac) Bartel never did tell me that it was on my shoulders to win this, but I knew the team needed this match and found it down within myself to pull through the injury to win it.
Freshman Grant Harris was selected as the WAC Player of the Year by the coaches. He swept the No. 1 singles competition, not losing more than two games to any player.
“He’s improved a lot throughout the season,” Schartz said. “He started the season slow. He hadn’t played a lot over the summer, and he kind of showed that. Playing regularly the last few weeks, he’s picked up his game and did a really good job today.”
Schartz was named the WAC Coach of the Year.
Ramon Garcia and Adam Neeland swept the No. 2 doubles field.
“I am especially proud of our No. 2 doubles team,” Schartz said. “They lost to Garden at Garden, and they came back to beat them pretty handily today, so that was a good win for them.”
Garcia, the team’s only senior, was an All-WAC selection. It was his second selection to an all-conference team after making the honorable mention list as a wrestler.
“It feels amazing,” Garcia said. “It hasn’t happened before. I just worked really hard for this. Adam, my partner, I couldn’t have done it without him. Overall, I just practice, just keep working.”
Nick Moyers and Chase Buntain fell to Garden City’s Evan Riggs and Brian Clarke 8-3 in No. 1 doubles competition, but they were able to win the rest of their matches to claim a three-way tie for first with Hays and Garden City.
The Panthers head to Newton on Friday for a Class 5A regional tournament.
HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS
Western Athletic Conference
At Great Bend
1. Great Bend, 15; 2. Garden City, 11; 3. Hays, 10; 4. Dodge City, 3; 5. Liberal, 1
Great Bend results
No. 1 singles — Grant Harris def. Trevor Brack, Dodge City, 8-2; def. Bryce McClung, Hays, 8-0; def. Blake Stucky, Garden City, 8-2; def. Joseph Cotto, Liberal, 8-2.
No. 2 singles — Austin Jacobs def. Phillip Teirchmann, Dodge City, 8-4; def. Cody Brown, Hays, 8-4; def. Sebastian Kyaw, Garden City, 8-7 (11-9); def. Bobby Solorzano, Liberal, forfeit.
No. 1 doubles — Nick Moyers & Chase Buntain def. Robert Askew & Dillon Burlsward, Dodge City, 8-1; def. Blake McClung & Hunter Wilkens, Hays, 8-5; lost to Evan Riggs & Brian Clarke, Garden City, 8-3; def. Adrian Amado & Cristiano Capizzi, Liberal, 8-1.
No. 2 doubles — Adam Neeland & Ramon Garcia def. Aaron Haas & Damian Barron, Dodge City, 8-3; def. Andrew McGinnis & Nick Galssman, Hays, 8-2; def. Brennan Keller & Denton Keller, Garden City, 8-2; def. Alan Gayton & Angel Hernandez, Liberal, forfeit.