ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
The Hillsboro tennis team made a quick exit from the state tournament on Friday, but the season was still a success, according to coach Cory Unruh.
“We started out young and inexperienced, but I thought we evolved into a competitor by the end of the year,” Unruh said. “That’s something we can be proud of-that and the fact that half of our team qualified for state.
“We can’t hold our heads down too much for that.”
In singles play, sophomore Kyle Kroeker entered the state tournament with a season record of 16-11.
In the opening round, Kroeker was pitted against Kevin Ille (18-5) of Ellinwood, but lost 6-4, 6-4.
“Kyle actually had a chance to win his first match,” Unruh said. “He was up 4-1 in the second set before losing 6-4.”
Moving into the consolation bracket, Kroeker met up with Nolan Kempke (19-9) of Claflin.
Once again Kroeker was competitive, but dropped his match 9-4 and was eliminated from the tournament.
In doubles action, the team of Macy Fadenrecht and Justin Hein entered play with an overall record of 6-5.
Once again, the draw was unkind to the Trojans as the first round matchup was against Josh Klein and Kade Kimer (25-3) of Claflin.
The match concluded with Fadenrecht and Hein on the losing end, 6-2, 6-2.
“The guys really had rough draws in the first round,” Unruh said. “In doubles, we lost to the team that eventually finished second in the state.”
Moving into the consolation bracket, Fadenrecht and Hein faced Aaron Deimund and Zac Kliewer (25-9) of Cimmaron but dropped that match 9-6.
Deimund and Kliewer went on to place fifth in the tournament.
Unruh said the season “panned out like I thought it would and hoped it would.
“I thought we got better as the year went along,” he said. “We improved and I was proud of the way we finished the season.
“It was definitely a step in the right direction for these young guys.”
Unruh said his two seniors, Justin Hein and Luke Lilly, made substantial contributions to the squad.
“I can’t be more proud of these two guys,” he said. “Both Justin and Luke essentially picked up tennis less than a year ago and I guess they really started playing this last summer.
“They were a big part of our varsity and I was proud of the way they stepped in and contributed.”
Looking ahead to next season, Unruh said the future is bright for Trojan tennis.
“I had four sophomores this year, so the heart of the team will be back, especially with Macy and Kyle returning,” he said. “I think those two have a real chance to do something big down the road.
“The future of our program looks good and promising.”
Regionals-The Trojans traveled to Maranatha Academy in Shawnee to compete in regional action May 17.
In singles, Kyle Kroeker was rewarded with a first-round bye. In second round action, Kroeker defeated Nick Wente of Immaculata, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
Moving into semifinal action, Kroeker faced Zach Alholm of Kansas City Christian. Kroeker dropped that match, 6-2, 6-0.
Kroeker was lost the battle for third place by Michael Holmes by a score of 7-5, 6-1, but earned a trip to the state tournament for his efforts.
In other singles action, Wade Kimbrel was defeated in the opening round by Dan Kozak of Immaculata, 4-6, 6-7.
In doubles, the team of Justin Hein and Macy Fadenrecht earned a first-round bye. In the second round, the duo defeated the team of Farrell and Ryff of KCC, 7-5, 6-3.
Next up was a semifinal match with Park and Lee who defeated Hein and Fadenrecht, 7-6 (7-0), 6-1.
The Trojan duo was then defeated in the battle for third place by Constant and Constant of KCC, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6.
In other doubles action, Luke Lilly and Peter Fast won their opening match against Heintzelman and Kim, 6-3, 6-3, before falling to Stuart and Hayes of Maranatha, 6-1, 6-2.