By Blake Spurney
Hesston Record Staff
Hesston rode its hot streak of fortuitous breaks to a Class 3-2-1A state tennis title Saturday in Emporia.
The Swathers, who edged Wichita Collegiate by one point and defending champion Kansas City Christian by two points, also made the most of their opportunities by taking must-win games. Hesston had won its regional tournament by .0064 percentage points.
No victory was more clutch or unexpected than the one pulled out Friday evening by doubles partners Daniel Holthus and Gus Williams against Kansas City Christian’s Turner Jones and William Vander Ark. It was one of the last matches of the day, and all of the players from Hesston, Kansas City Christian and Collegiate were watching the match in anticipation.
“The atmosphere was awesome,” Williams said. “So many people were watching because that was one of the last matches going on.”
“It was a huge upset,” Holthus said about their 9-5 victory. “We came out with a huge boom right off the bat. We were able to get a big lead, and that helped us in the long run.”
Matches on the front side of the bracket were decided by who won two sets. On the consolation side, the winner was whoever won nine games.
Teammates ran up to congratulate Williams and Holthus.
“Being honest, I didn’t expect them to win,” said Isaac Penner. “They played lights out.”
Collin Martin said Hesston hadn’t yet sealed a state title, but that doubles win was a defining factor.
Before play began Friday morning, Hesston won a coin flip that put Penner in a more favorable location in the bracket. Instead of playing Sacred Heart's Stratton Brown in the second round, Penner met and beat Conway Springs' Grant Bellar, whom he beat 6-2, 6-0. Next, Penner downed Sterling's Kyler Comley 6-2, 6-2 to make the semifinals.
To read more see this weeks print edition