Boys’ tennis gains experience in early season Paola Quad


Sam Hubert

Senior Tait Theel returns a shot in a doubles match against opponents from Spring Hill on April 5.

Sam Hubert, Sports Editor

The boys’ tennis team faced off against Paola, Spring Hill and Gardner Edgerton in a quadrangular meet at Paola High School on April 5. The quad offered an early season opportunity for head coach Justin Hoffman to experiment with new options for his roster.

“Players are allowed 8 [meets] per season, not counting postseason. I think we have 12 [meets] on our schedule so I can shuffle kids in and out and try to get several different looks of things,” Hoffman explained.

Senior Kyler Gish, who qualified for State last year in the doubles with now-graduated Nathan Kowynia, played No. 1 singles at Paola, the first time he has done so since his freshman year, and placed second overall.

“Since I’m typically a doubles player, it felt weird because singles is a whole different game, with drawn out points and more ground strokes,” Gish said. “Getting into that rhythm was a little disorienting at first, but after that I feel like I got into the flow of things pretty well.”

For Gish, the results were encouraging for him to make another run during the upcoming postseason.

“Looking to the future, I’d like to play singles at League, Regionals and State, but if I’m put at doubles I’ll play whatever … for the team,” Gish added.

Also getting results at Paola were “The Adams” as Hoffman calls them, sophomores Adam Baruth and Adam Kowynia, and senior pair Tait Theel and Matt Minter. Both duos went 2-1 in doubles. Junior Ryan Tjan also played a perfect 3-0 in No. 2 singles.

“I thought the Adams played really well throughout the day,” Hoffman said. “Ryan was pretty consistent like he always is, and Tait and Matt were kind of hot and cold depending on the match.”

Much like Theel and Minter’s play on Thursday, the weather has also been up-and-down for the team, hurting their ability to be able to get in quality practices and meets. Poor conditions have resulted in meets at the Kossover Tennis Center and Hayden High School in Topeka being postponed, to Hoffman’s chagrin. However, the Paola quad offered a welcome change to the unusually chilly spring temperatures.

“It was finally nice to have a decent weather day. I’m looking forward to more of those days than what we’ve been having,” Hoffman said.

The boys’ tennis team will have their next meet at Bonner Springs High School on Tuesday, April 10.