Needless to say, it was a record-setting spring in 2012.
The Great Bend High School boys’ tennis team established a school-record 119-22 overall mark last season.
The Panthers also won an unprecedented 15 of 16 matches in running away with the Western Athletic Conference championship, where Grant Harris captured conference player of the year honors as a freshman with a 29-5 record.
Moreover, senior returnees Nick Moyers and Chase Buntain captured 10th place in No. 1 doubles at the Class 5A state tournament, putting together a team-best 35-7 record.
“After last season, having the best record in school history, we’re returning five of our top six varsity players,” Great Bend head coach Shannon Schartz said. “In anticipation of that, we increased the strength of schedule.
“We added a big tournament in Emporia, where we will face a lot of the Kansas City schools, and we also added a tournament at Salina South to play schools from Salina, Junction City and Topeka.”
Moyers has moved to No. 1 singles, and Harris, now a sophomore, will be competing at No. 2 singles.
Austin Jacobs, a senior and the Panthers’ No. 2 singles player in putting together a 27-6 season last season, will be playing No. 1 doubles with Buntain.
Senior Adam Neeland, who had a 28-4 campaign last season at No. 2 doubles with the graduated Ramon Garcia, will team with senior Patrick McCluskey this spring.
McCluskey had a junior varsity record of 12-5 in 2012 at No. 1 singles, along with a 2-0 mark in doubles play.
“Even with a tougher schedule, we’re anticipating an even better record,” Schartz said. “Last year, as a team, we only had two guys at state, where we finished 12th.
“This year, we hope to qualify everybody for state and having a top-5 finish at the state tournament.”
Needless to say, hopes are high at the Veterans Memorial Park tennis courts.
“Our expectations are to repeat as WAC champs,” Schartz said. “The guys worked real hard all winter, and most of them played indoors at the racquet club.
“They’ve been working around the clock at getting better for this year. I think everybody has improved from last year. I expect us to be stronger and more dominating this year.”