ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Michael Hagen, still undefeated for the season, led his team to the Hillsboro tennis team to the championship of the Circle Quadrangular in Towanda last Thursday by winning the No. 1 singles crown.
Hagen went 3-0 with wins over Bryce Trear of Haven, 8-1, Jason Farner of Circle, 8-2, and Simone Gibertini of Valley Center, 8-1.
Adam Driggers finished second in No. 2 doubles, losing his opening match to Ricky Snyder of Haven, 4-8, then beating Jeremy Jones of Circle, 8-6, and Todd Shults of Valley Center, 8-0.
The No. 1 doubles team of Jared Hefley and Brandon Ratzlaff finished second also. They lost 4-8 to Luke Watson and Shane Miller of Haven, then beat Jason Stuchlik and Andrew Kuttler of Circle, 8-3, and Steve Vetter and Canti Schroeder of Valley Center, 8-2.
The No. 2 doubles team of Jesse Jantzen and Caleb Dirks placed fourth, losing all three of their matches. They lost 4-8 to Haven and Circle, and 3-8 to Valley Center.
As as team the Trojans tallied 19 points for the win, followed closely by Haven with 18, Circle 11 and Valley Center 10.
Last Monday, Hagen’s win in No. 1 singles fueled Hillsboro’s second-place finish at the Smoky Valley Invitational tennis meet.
Hagen blanked Allen Denny of Nickerson and Wyatt Cooper of Abilene by identical 8-0 scores, then beat Eric Shear of Hesston, 8-2, and Matt Curtin of Wichita Collegiate, 8-5, for the championship.
“Michael continues to play strong for us in both singles and doubles,” said coach Lonnie Isaac. “He currently is 11-0 in all his matches and has several wins over state qualifiers from a year ago.”
In No. 2 singles, Driggers lost both of his matches, 0-8, first to Steve Claassen of Hesston and then to Brian Mansfield of Abilene.
The Trojans’ No. 1 doubles team of Ratzlaff and Hefley finished fourth. They defeated Chambers and Ferguson of Smoky Valley, 8-2, then defeated Lunt and Ahrens of Pratt, 8-7, before losing to Berns and Kenney of Abilene, 6-8, and Mason and Jantz of Hesston, 6-8.
In No. 2 doubles, Janzen and Tyler Weinbrenner lost to Johnson and Gilbert of Smoky Valley, 0-8, and to Regier and Rlordan of Abilene, 4-8.
“Our No. 1 doubles team continues to make steady progress,” Isaac said. “At Smoky they defeated the No. 2 seed from Pratt en route to the semifinals.”
Hesston won the meet with 34 points, followed by Hillsboro with 26, Abilene 25, Smoky Valley 25, Collegiate 24, Concordia 14, Nickerson 13 and Pratt 9.
On Thursday, April 5, Hillsboro finished in a first-place tie with Conway Springs at the 10-team Hillsboro Invitational.
HHS and Conway both registered 56 points, followed by Smoky Valley with 42, Circle 36, Chapman and Smoky Valley B 23, Hutch Trinity 21, Conway Springs B 6, Hillsboro B 3 and Sacred Heart 3.
Hagen, playing doubles for the first time this season, teamed with Ratzlaff to win the No. 1 doubles competition. They beat a team from Hutch Trinity, 8-0, and Circle, 8-6.
Hefley finished third in No. 1 singles, defeating Jimmy McKee of Sacred Heart, 8-4, losing to Kevin Arnhold of Hutch Trinity, 7-8, then blanking Jeremy Jones of Circle, 8-0.
Adam Driggers finished third in singles by beating Andrew Kuttler of Circle, 8-2, losing to Zach Douglass of Smoky Valley, 6-8, and then beating Hans Brehm of Chapman, 8-3.
Janzen and Caleb Dirks finished third in No. 2 doubles by beating a team from Chapman, 8-2, losing to Smoky Valley, 2-8, and beating Circle, 8-2.
“Our depth at the No. 2 spots is our biggest concern right now,” Isaac added. “If we can get the right combinations figured out, we will have a very strong team. Right now, most of our team points are coming from the No. 1 spots, and we’re still placing in the top two of all the tournaments.”
The Trojans will resume action March 24 at the a tournament in Hesston. Matches begin at 3:15 p.m.